A week after dispatching the Phoenix Coyotes for a sweep, the Detroit Red Wings finally know who they will play next in the 2011 NHL playoffs: the San Jose Sharks. This matchup is set in stone thanks to the Vancouver Canucks beating the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime in Game 7 of their series on Tuesday night. The exciting and dramatic finish was the last piece of the puzzle in the Western Conference for round two, and it means the Red Wings will be headed on the road to open their series against the second-seeded Sharks.
This matchup will be the fifth meeting in the playoffs between the Red Wings and Sharks. The Red Wings were victorious over San Jose in 1995 and 2007. The Sharks beat Detroit in 1994 and 2010.
Last year's series between these two teams was one of the most frustrating I can remember as a Red Wings fan. The Wings actually outscored the Sharks in the series, but they lost in five games. This stat was due to the fact that every Sharks victory was by one goal and the Red Wings blew out San Jose in Game 4. Unfortunately the Wings couldn't make things much more interesting than winning Game 4, as San Jose eliminated Detroit in five games. There was no comeback, and for the first time since 2007, the Red Wings were not headed to the Stanley Cup final.
The schedule isn't out yet for the Red Wings' second straight rematch from last year's playoffs, but we already know that Game 1 will be played on Thursday or Friday. SB Nation Detroit will post the full schedule when it is released.