When you get knocked down, it’s important to be able to get up and dust yourself off. That’s the challenge for the Minnesota Wild after a 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks last night.
Minnesota won’t have any time to wallow in defeat; the team travels just a few hours north to take on the San Jose Sharks. It is the second time the Wild faces San Jose this week, taking a 3-1 win at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday. Minnesota looks to snap its recent road woes, losing its last four games outside of the State of Hockey.
Against the Sharks, the Wild will attempt to pick up its aggressiveness in the offensive zone on the forecheck. In its last six contests Minnesota has only drawn 12 power play chances. Sustained pressure in the offensive zone puts stress on defenders, which leads to lost assignments, players running around and eventually penalties.
UPDATED: The Wild has recalled forward Brett Bulmer from Iowa of the American Hockey League. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo didn't talk about line changes for tonight, but said Jason Zucker would come out of the lineup tonight. Bulmer will be in but where in the lineup is yet to be determined.
Goaltender Niklas Backstrom will be in goal tonight.
Minnesota came up short in its attempted rally last night in Anaheim. After falling behind by two goals in the second, the Wild scored on a third period power play goal by Jason Pominville. It was the forwards’ fifth power play goal of the season, and team leading 15th of the year. Goaltender Josh Harding was his usual spectacular self; making 29 saves in the loss.
San Jose continues its struggles, giving up a lead and losing in a shootout at home against the New York Islanders on Tuesday, 3-2. Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski scored in the second to give San Jose the lead, but the Islanders rallied in the third and eventually won in a shootout.
Meet the Fins
After a hot start, the Sharks have swum into cold waters, losing four straight. Despite the losses, San Jose is still one of the best home teams in the NHL, going 10-1-3 in the Shark Tank this season.
Longtime Shark forward Patrick Marleau has two goals and two assists in the past three games for San Jose.
If You’re Going
Fans at Sharks games will have the opportunity to win two free tacos courtesy of Jack in the Box if the Sharks score in the final two minutes of the 2nd period. Text the prompted "text in code" that will appear on the videoboard and around the arena. Fans will then receive their coupon via text message for redemption of two free tacos.
Jason Pominville’s power play goal on Wednesday was for his fifth point (2-3=5) in the last six games. He leads Minnesota with 15 goals this season and ranks T-11th in the NHL. His four game-winning goals lead the Wild and ranks T-6th in the NHL. He also ranks second on the team in shots and third in scoring and T-10th in the NHL with 5 PPGs.
Probable Wild Lineup
With Zucker out, Bulmer will come in tonight:
Here’s what the blue line looked like yesterday:
Between the Pipes
Niklas Backstrom will get the start in net. He is 6-12-3 with a 3.07 GAA, a .906 SV% and two shutouts in 21 starts against the Sharks.
Yeo Quote of the Day
We draw one power play. Either teams are extremely discipline against us or we’re not doing enough to draw more. We’ve got to do more to draw more.
- Yeo on being more aggressive in the offensive zone
View From the Press Box
Forward Mikael Granlund is out with an upper-body injury.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident
D Brent Burns was drafted 20th overall by the Wild in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and ranks sixth on the team’s all-time scoring list with 183 points (55-128=183) in 453 games (2003-11). D Justin Braun (Minneapolis) is a Minnesota native. C James Sheppard was selected ninth overall by Minnesota in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and skated in 224 games with the Wild (2007-10). Todd McLellan coached the Wild’s prospects in Cleveland (2000-01) and Houston (2001-05). G Alex Stalock hails from Saint Paul and played three seasons with University of Minnesota-Duluth (2006-2009).
Minnesota is 6-0-0 in the last six meetings played against San Jose at Xcel Energy Center and 1-7-0 in the last eight contests at SAP Center. The Sharks have outscored the Wild 30-15 in the last eight games played in San Jose.
Wild at San Jose will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 9:30 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
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