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Sharks vs. Wild Preview: Just win

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Marc-Edouard Vlasic (probably) in, Logan Couture out again.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Man, that six-game road sweep feels like it happened ages ago, doesn’t it? The Sharks were 4:37 from snapping a four-game losing streak in Edmonton on Wednesday, but Todd McLellan’s new team had other plans. Now San Jose is back home to take on the Minnesota Wild before flying east to start a five-game road trip. The Wild are fifth in a stacked Central Division but have four more points than the Sharks, who are a point back of second in the Pacific but also only three points ahead of the last-place Flames and Oilers.

Based on yesterday’s practice, the Sharks are going to ice some new lines tonight as Pete DeBoer tries to get his team going without Logan Couture (again). Tomas Hertl skated on the top line between Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau, while Joe Thornton centered Melker Karlsson and Tommy Wingels, Chris Tierney centered Joel Ward and Joonas Donskoi, and the just-recalled Ryan Carpenter skated alongside Dainus Zubrus and Mike Brown with Matt Nieto and Ben Smith still out in addition to Couture.

While the line combinations up front are… interesting, the Sharks’ defense pairs should be back to normal assuming Marc-Edouard Vlasic slots back into the lineup. The Sharks lost all three games they played without Vlasic, and they’ve won just one of eight games played without him or Paul Martin. San Jose is far from a healthy hockey club, but Vlasic’s return will be a welcome relief indeed.

Tale Of The Tape

Sharks 100px

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14–13–1 Record 14–7–5
3rd in Pacific Rank 5th in Center
51.7%
Score-Adj. Fenwick 49.1%
99.7 PDO 102.0
18.1 PP% 18.2
81.3 PK% 75.8

7:30 PST - SAP Center - San Jose, California
TV: CSN-CA - Radio: KFOX 98.5
Know Your Enemy: Hockey Wilderness

Last meeting

Vlasic scored the overtime winner as the Sharks beat the Wild 4–3. Karlsson, Pavelski, and Wingels also scored for San Jose. Alex Stalock stopped 28 of 31 shots.

Storylines

  • You may have heard that the Sharks haven’t won many hockey games lately. Tonight would be a good time to change that.
  • "When it rains, it pours," said DeBoer of Couture. The Sharks are fortunate that Logan’s injury isn’t related to his broken leg, but the arterial bleed he had repaired is still a bad blow for a struggling team.
  • The Sharks called up 24-year-old forward Ryan Carpenter, who should make his NHL debut tonight. In 20 games for the Barracuda, he registered two goals and 16 assists.