Programming note – Sharks-Wild coverage starts today at 5:30 p.m. on NBCSN
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 42-23-7, 91 points, 1st Pacific Division
Wild: 43-22-6, 92 points, 2nd Central Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***The standings say it’s a potential Western Conference Final preview, but lately the Sharks and Wild look anything but dangerous. They have lost a combined eight straight games in regulation, as the Wild have dropped five in a row and the Sharks their last three.
***San Jose has scored just two goals in its last three games in losses to St. Louis, Anaheim and Dallas. The Sharks were shut out by the Stars on Monday night, 1-0.
“We’ve just got to stick with it, keep going, and keep working,” Joe Pavelski told reporters after the game. “These points are important, there’s no time to hang our head. This team never does, we’ve just got to find a way to be a little bit better.”
The Sharks are playing in the second of a four-game road trip. They are 9-3-1 this season in the second of back-to-backs, and have lost four games in a row just once this season (Feb. 4-11, 0-1-3).
***The Wild are struggling on both ends of the ice during its losing streak, averaging 2.20 goals-per game and allowing an average of 3.80 goals in its last five. On Sunday in Winnipeg, the Wild rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie it only to lose, 5-4.
Minnesota has won both of its games over San Jose in the season series, on Jan. 5 in San Jose (5-4) and March 5 at Xcel Energy Center (3-1). They are 23-10-1 at home, and are still on pace for their best regular season in franchise history.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Timo Meier. Playing in his first NHL game since Feb. 15 on Monday, the rookie started on the fourth line against Dallas before he was moved up to the third line with Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi. He finished with one shot on goal (and seven shot attempts) in nine minutes and seven seconds of ice time.
Wild: Eric Staal. In his first season with the Wild, the 32-year-old center has posted four goals and one assist against the Sharks this season, including two goals in each of the last two games. He has seven goals and eight points in his last nine games overall, and will be skating in his 1,001st career game tonight.
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Mikkel Boedker – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Tomas Hertl – Marcus Sorensen
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Timo Meier
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (likely starter)
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise – Eric Staal – Charlie Coyle
Nino Niederreiter – Martin Hanzal – Jason Pominville
Chris Stewart – Erik Haula – Jordan Schroeder
Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella – Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin – Nate Prosser
Devan Dubnyk (starter)
Sharks: Chris Tierney (flu) is probable. Jannik Hansen (upper body) aand Melker Karlsson (lower body) are out.
Wild: Christian Folin (upper body) and Victor Bartley (torn triceps) are out.
“The chances are there, we’ve got to bear down. We’ve got to get one dirty or ugly around the net, we’ve got to get one on the power play. Some way, somehow, take a little pressure off of the group because it’s hard to win when you’re only getting one or no goals like we’ve gotten in the last couple of games.” – Pete DeBoer