Game Preview: San Jose Sharks @ Minnesota Wild


It has been a dismal performance by the Minnesota Wild (18-15-4) recently. But they have a chance to turn their season around against the San Jose Sharks (21-14-5) tonight at 7:00pm CST.

Having lost their last game 7-1 against the Dallas Stars, Wild defenseman Ryan Suter was quoted by Michael Russo saying, “Maybe this Dallas thing was the best thing to happen to us. Maybe it’ll wake us up.”

San Jose played last night, and won 3-2 against the Winnipeg Jets. This was two days removed from when the Sharks were trounced 7-2 by the St. Louis Blues. The same day Minnesota played Dallas. Minnesota’s had time to dwell on the loss, and plan for tonight’s game. San Jose has already pushed their performance from Saturday to the side.


If the Wild can get their act together, they could begin turning their season around tonight. They’ve had success at home against San Jose recently, winning the last seven meetings at the Xcel Energy Center.

Coming into play, Zach Parise leads Minnesota in scoring with 30 points in 32 games. Joe Pavelski is pacing the Sharks with 35 points in 40 games.

Between the pipes, Darcy Kuemper is expected to start for Minnesota. It will likely be Alex Stalock, a St. Paul native, in net for San Jose, as Antti Niemi played last night.

This is the third meeting between the teams this season. Kyle Brodziak scored twice, and Thomas Vanek had two assists on October 30th, a 4-3 Minnesota shootout win.

Pavelski scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 San Jose victory on December 11th. Pavelski and Joe Thornton have three points in the season series. Thornton is out with an upper-body injury, but should return to the Sharks lineup soon.

For the Wild, Mikael Granlund is still out for a few weeks while recovering from wrist surgery. Keith Ballard is nowhere near returning, after suffering head and face injuries in a game against the New York Islanders on December 9th. Nate Prosser and Brett Sutter are both out with the illness that has been plaguing the Wild lineup.

Minnesota is seven points behind Winnipeg for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference, but do have three games in hand. San Jose is currently in the playoff picture, holding the third spot in the Pacific Division.