I am interested to see which lines you think Babcock and team will match against the Sharks lines, especially the forth line.
Ron Wilson went with the following forward line combos to start the last couple of games against the Preds.
1. Michalek-Thornton-Cheechoo HT/WT 6.2/225 6.4/235 6.1/230
2. Guerin-Pavelski-Marleau 6.2/210 5.11/195 6.2/220
3. Grier-Brown-Rissmiller 6.1/225 60/195 6.4/215
4. Bernier-Goc-Clowe 6.2/235 6.1/205 6.2/215
The Sharks finished periods 2 and 3 of game 5 with Marleau, Thornton and Guerin on line 1 because Cheechoo was not at 100% and he struggled. Marleau scored the tying and winning goals set up by Guerin and Thornton respectively. Perhaps we will see this line up again. That being said, the Wings will likely see the aforementioned line combos to start game 1.
4. This line will likely prove to be the difference maker in this series and the reason the Sharks will give Detroit all they can handle. This is why RW can role 4 lines. They accounted for 3 goals against the Preds. They are big and physical and draw many holding and hooking penalties. I am very curious to see who the Wings will match up against them?
3. This is the line up that typically plays against the opponentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top line. They have pretty much played together all year. Grier was stellar against the Preds.
2. Has seen some significant juggling all year. Mark Bell started the Preds series on this line and was pulled for game 3 and replaced by Pavelski. Pavelski responded by scoring and Bell has been left off the ice since. Guerin and Marleau have not really gelled yet and Guerin did not score a goal against the Preds. Still this is a pretty solid line 2. Marleau looks to be regaining his scoring touch. He struggled early in the series as did the line. But he ended up scoring the winning goal in game 4 on a tip in and as already mentioned the game tying and series winning goals in game 5.
1. Thornton has lead the league in assists two straight years and counted 6 assists against the Preds. His contribution cannot just be measured by points scored. He can dominate games. I have seen him do it a lot over the last two seasons. He is the reason the Sharks are where they are. CheeChoo, the Sharks leading goal scorer struggled because of a knee on knee injury suffered by Hartnell in game 1 and did not score in the series. Michalek scored 4 goals. If CheeChoo is healthy and productive this line should stand.
Which forward lines will the Wings match up against the Sharks and why?