Dean Lombardi

NHL Western Conference team-by-team preview

1. San Jose Sharks

2009-10 record: 51-20-11, 113 points.

Power play: 21.0% (fourth). Penalty killing: 85% (fifth).

Team goals-against average: 2.51 (eighth).

Leading scorer: Joe Thornton 20-69 — 89.

Outlook: Another strong regular-season performance ended short of the Cup. The Sharks still have an exceptional defense corps despite the retirement of Rob Blake. The big change is in goal. Evgeni Nabokov was allowed to walk as a free agent and GM Doug Wilson signed Antti Niemi from salary cap-strapped Chicago.

2. Detroit Red Wings

2009-10 record: 44-24-14, 102 points.

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