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Sharks vs. Red Wings NHL Playoff Schedule Preview: Is It Realistic To Think Sweep?

Fortunately, it's not considered bad mojo to openly discuss a sweep in hockey, at least among most hockey fans. Post-game three, you'll see folks posting pictures of brooms on the internet and calling for the four-game domination, when in baseball, you might find yourself thrown under a buss for committing such acts of heresy. The question is though: is it realistic to think the San Jose Sharks could sweep the Detroit Red Wings? They're up three games to none and have won them all by one goal.

So many things factor into the probability of a sweep. On one hand, you'd think that, with such a close margin of victory in three games, the pucks have to bounce in Detroit's favor at least once. On the other hand, losing that many one-goal games could be a demoralizing thing to go through, as one wonder's what exactly it takes to win a game in this series. Maybe the Sharks come out looking a little complacent and the Red Wings are fighting for their playoff lives, and the Sharks fail to complete the sweep.

At any rate, if there's any team that can recover from a three-game deficit to threaten a seven-game series, it's the Red Wings. There's not a ton of historical precedent for such statements, this is just a tough team that is very evenly matched with the Sharks when it comes down to it. Goalies Antti Niemi and Jimmy Howard are similar, both of the top lines are canceling eachother out, it's just a matter of more depth for the Sharks, where lines three and four are putting in serious work to get things done, especially on the power play.

Ah yes, the power play, which we've visited and re-visited at least six times in this series. Coming in, it was the thing to watch, and going into game four, it will continue to be. Where as the Sharks had a struggling power play unit coming into the series, Detroit had a struggling penalty kill unit of their own. This evened out when it all came down to it, and now it's just a battle to see who can stay out of the box for longer. 

Devin Setoguchi is coming off a hat-trick performance in game three, including the overtime winner, while Joe Thornton assisted three times in the game. Dany Heatley had a good game and was a huge defensive asset, as it happened. For much of the game, Henrick Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyk and the rest of the Red Wings kept the play in their favor, and it looked like they'd be escaping with a win. Perhaps they get it all together on Friday, maybe they don't.

The game is at 4:00 p.m. pacific and will be on Versus and CSN California.