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Sharks vs. Wild preview: Like all NHL games in Minnesota, this one is indoors

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The road trip concludes with a stop in St. Paul.

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Things are looking up for the Sharks of late, with the team coming off what were probably its two most impressive performances of the season on the heels of an unsettling four-game losing streak. They'll face arguably their most difficult test yet tonight, though, as the Minnesota Wild have been the league's most dominant puck possession team in the early going, regularly riding four balanced forward lines of skill and a lethal transition game to lopsided shot differentials.

Tale Of The Tape
San Jose Sharks

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Minnesota Wild
6-4-1, 13 points
Record 5-3-0, 10 points
3rd in Pacific Rank 4th in Central
51.0%
Score-Adj. Fenwick 58.1%
101.5
PDO 104.2
22.5
PP% 0.0
81.6
PK% 90.9

6PM PST | Xcel Energy Center | St. Paul, Minnesota
TV: CSNCA-HD | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: Hockey WildernessHashtag Hockey

Projected Sharks Lineup

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels
James Sheppard - Chris Tierney - Matt Nieto
Tye McGinn - Andrew Desjardins - Adam Burish

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Mirco Mueller - Brent Burns
Scott Hannan - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Wild Lineup

Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville
Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle
Thomas Vanek - Kyle Brodziak - Nino Niederreiter
Stephane Veilleux - Ryan Carter - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella - Nate Prosser
Justin Falk - Matt Dumba

Darcy Kuemper
Niklas Backstrom

Last Meeting

One day after signing three-year contract extensions (complete with no-movement clauses that really haven't received nearly enough attention in the months since), Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau erased a 2-0 Sharks deficit. Both players scored to tie the game in the second period before Jumbo capped it off with an overtime winner.

Storylines

  • Barclay Goodrow (an actual Sharks rookie, not a law firm) has been activated from injured reserve and could potentially make his NHL debut tonight.
  • Antti Niemi will be in goal, marking the first time this season a Sharks goalie has received three consecutive starts.
  • Prized free agent acquisition Thomas Vanek has disappointed thus far in his Wild career and will start tonight's game on Minnesota's third line.
  • Matt Cooke is out with a lower-body injury while Erik Haula continues to deal with post-concussion symptoms after sustaining a hit from John Moore that merited a five-game suspension.
  • If the Wild have an achilles' heel, it's their power play which has produced a whopping zero goals on the season so far. Given their top-ten 5-on-4 shot rate, though, it would seem like it's only a matter of time before that thing gets going.