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NHL on NBCSN: Wild hope to rise from ‘rock bottom’ against Sharks

Minnesota Wild v San Jose Sharks

Minnesota Wild v San Jose Sharks

NHLI via Getty Images

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Minnesota Wild host the San Jose Sharks at the Xcel Energy Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

The Minnesota Wild hope to climb up from “rock bottom” as they host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

That 7-1 loss to the Dallas Stars was devastating, but in some ways, they’re set up nicely to bounce back. As tough an out as the Sharks are, they’re playing without former captain Joe Thornton and may be a little fatigued coming off of last night’s buzzer-beating win against the Winnipeg Jets.

Really, the tension could really rise if Minnestoa doesn’t begin to figure things out.

This begins a three-game homestand for the Wild with playoff-caliber opponents on the docket in San Jose today, Chicago on Thursday and Nashville on Saturday.

That’s a tough slate, yet such games (and matches against opponents closing off back-to-back sets, in general) are challenges that legitimate playoff teams must meet. As of this writing, the Wild are slipping out of playoff contention with an 18-15-4 record (40 standings points, seven behind final wild card holder Winnipeg, as well as San Jose). These are the kind of games that may help trigger a turnaround or accelerate a downfall.

On the bright side for the Wild, they’ve dominated the Sharks at home lately, winning the last seven games between the two teams in Minnesota.

One would think that Alex Stalock will play for San Jose after Antti Niemi started last night, but we’ll see. The Wild’s goaltending situation has been worrisome whether it’s been Darcy Kuemper or Niklas Backstrom in net.

The Sharks have the makings for a tough test for the Wild, but then again, isn’t that usually the case in the rugged West?

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins