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Red Wings Vs. Sharks NHL Preview: First Game Of Fierce Rivalry Set For Friday

For more on the Red Wings, check out Winging It In Motown.

It's always a big deal when the San Jose Sharks come to the Joe Louis Arena, and on Friday, the Detroit Red Wings will greet them to renew hostilities in the first of four matchups between the two this season. If things go as they have been the past two seasons, they'll play more than four times by the time a Stanley Cup Champion is crowned, but it's still early to consider such things.

Either way, the Sharks did take three-of-four regular season matchups in 2010-11, and they eliminated the Red Wings from the playoffs in round two for the second consecutive year. The Red Wings are hitting a slump right now, having lost their last two games by a combined score of 11-2. After starting the season at 5-0, the Red Wings lost 7-1 to the Washington Capitals (also undefeated at that point), and allowed the winless Blue Jackets to pick up their first victory on Tuesday by a margin of 4-1.

On the flipside to that, the Sharks started the season on the wrong foot at 1-3, before rattling off wins in their last three games. They took a 3-1 win over the Predators, a 4-2 win over the Bruins and a 4-3 shootout victory over the Devils. All three of those games were on the road, and they look to continue their undefeated road trip through Detroit on Friday.

Both of Detroit's losses came without starting goaltender Jimmy Howard in net. Against the Capitals, he was rested, and he was given the day off against the Blue Jackets to be with his wife and their newborn child. Ty Conklin got the start, and accordingly, the loss in both games.

The game is set for 7:30 p.m. eastern and will be on NHL Network, as well as the usual Fox Sports Detroit and CSN California.