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Red Wings Host Sharks, Shoot For Sixth Straight Win

(Sports Network) - The Detroit Red Wings will aim for a sixth straight victory when they welcome the San Jose Sharks for tonight's Western Conference showdown at Joe Louis Arena.

Thanks in part to Detroit's recent five-game winning streak, the Central Division-leading Red Wings enter tonight with a 10-point edge over Nashville. The Red Wings are also second in the Western Conference and five points in back of Vancouver.

Detroit's three most recent wins came on the road, but the club is back in the Motor City for a two-game stint. The Red Wings, who are 17-8-4 as the host this year, will also welcome Dallas on Thursday.

The Red Wings set a season high for consecutive wins with Sunday's shootout victory in Minnesota and Detroit hasn't claimed six straight victories since a seven-game tear from March 20-April 1 of last season.

Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi both scored in Sunday's shootout, lifting the Red Wings to the 2-1 decision at Xcel Energy Center.

Deadlocked at 1-1 at the end of overtime, Datsyuk made a nice deke move and put a forehander past Niklas Backstrom to give Detroit the advantage. The next three shooters were unable to light the lamp and Bertuzzi, playing in his 1,000th career game, deliberately skated in and lifted a backhander over the outstretched Backstrom to seal the victory.

"We need every point we can get," Bertuzzi said. "We have to keep staying on a roll and we're getting a lot of good efforts from everyone."

Nicklas Lidstrom scored in regulation for Detroit, while Jimmy Howard turned aside 25-of-26 shots to earn the victory.

The Red Wings are hoping to get forward Valtteri Filppula back tonight after he missed the last six games with a sprained left knee. Detroit is also targeting Saturday's game in Buffalo as a return date for forward Mike Modano, who hasn't played since late November due to a right wrist injury.

Detroit and the Sharks have split a pair of meetings this season with each club winning once on the road. San Jose has taken two of three encounters overall, but the Red Wings have five wins in the last seven meetings. The Sharks, who eliminated the Red Wings in five games during last spring's Western Conference semifinals, have also won two straight regular-season games in Detroit.

The Sharks are 18-11-3 as the guest this season and are kicking off a three- game road trip tonight. San Jose, which has won five of its last seven on the road, will also visit Pittsburgh and Calgary during this swing.

San Jose enters tonight as the fourth seed in the Western Conference and the Sharks are just one point behind Phoenix for the Pacific Division lead. The Coyotes are set to play tonight in Philadelphia.

The Sharks won their third straight game Saturday night, defeating Colorado, 4-0, behind Devin Setoguchi's first career hat trick and Antti Niemi's fifth shutout of the season.

"I think I've had 12, maybe 13 two-goal games, something like that," Setoguchi said. "It always sits in the back of your mind. But it feels good to get one; first one, anyway."

Niemi made 25 saves for the Sharks, while Ryane Clowe also lit the lamp in the victory.

San Jose centerman Scott Nichol and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic could both miss tonight's tilt with upper-body injuries. Vlasic missed the last game, while Nichol was injured in Saturday's win over Colorado.