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Sharks vs. Wild: Saturday morning hockey

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The next stop on the Sharks' road trip is Minnesota as they'll face Devin Setoguchi, Dany Heatley and the Wild at 11AM.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not (I'm guessing you'll believe it), this morning's tilt between the Sharks and Wild in St. Paul will be Martin Havlat's first trip back to Minnesota since being traded to San Jose in 2011. In fact, it's the first time every player involved in the series of deals orchestrated by Doug Wilson and Chuck Fletcher two summers ago will share an ice rink. Havlat, Brent Burns, James Sheppard, Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi and Charlie Coyle are all slated to be in the lineup, with an extra Torrey Mitchell thrown in for good measure.

To state the obvious, this game isn't about validating those moves, it's about securing a vital two points in the standings. Dallas and Columbus have closed the gap on the Sharks, although San Jose retains games in hand. Despite currently leading the shambolic Northwest Division, the Wild are one of the more beatable opponents the Sharks will have the chance to face for quite some time. Another damn close to must-win game for San Jose. Go Sharks.

San Jose Sharks

@

Minnesota Wild
13-10-6, 32 points

17-10-2, 36 points
8th in Western Conference
3rd in Western Conference

11AM PST | Xcel Energy Center | St. Paul, Minnesota
TV: CSNCA-HD | Radio: 98.5 KFOX, SJSharks.com
Know Your Enemy: Hockey Wilderness, Hashtag Hockey

Projected Sharks Lineup

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns
Logan Couture - Joe Pavelski - Martin Havlat
T.J. Galiardi - Scott Gomez - Tommy Wingels
James Sheppard - Andrew Desjardins - Adam Burish

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Jason Demers
Douglas Murray - Brad Stuart

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Wild Lineup

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle
Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi
Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Cal Clutterbuck
Jason Zucker - Zenon Konopka - Torrey Mitchell

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin
Clayton Stoner - Jared Spurgeon
Justin Falk - Nate Prosser

Niklas Backstrom
Matt Hackett