GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Sharks
Minnesota Wild (4-4-2: 10 points, 12th in Western Conference, 4th in Northwest Division) vs. San Jose Sharks (5-3-1: 11 points, 11th in Western Conference, 3rd in Pacific Division)
Maintaining a solid moustache is much more than just running a razor over your face and ignoring the upper lip. No sir! The upper lip requires the most
attention, bro. You've got to be meticulous in your shaping and your trimming. You need to make a habit of continuously removing food particles and drink stains, because any Mo Bro knows that an unkempt 'stache is nothing but an eyesore. It's kind of like hockey, and the NHL. In order to make noise, you have to be consistent and meticulous, and that's the difference between winning a few big games, and putting together a monster win streak. There are going to be challenges, like tonight's game against the red hot San Jose Sharks. But nothing is impossible. Not even overcoming potato chips in a busy 'stache.
The Wild has been unable to find that pattern of winning after one month of the season. Minnesota has yet to win or lose more than two games in a row. Following a big win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday, the home team fell to the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-1 on Saturday. Marek Zidlicky
cut the Hawks lead to 2-1 late in the third, but an empty netter sealed the deal for Chicago, despite a brilliant 29-save performance by Niklas Backstrom
The Sharks on the other hand, appear to have found that rhythym. Since losing their third in a row on October 19, the Fish have won four of their last five, and have picked up 10 goals in their last two wins. All 10 were produced by the line of Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau. Heatley scored twice in San Jose's 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
Wild vs. Sharks will be broadcast nationally in high definition on Versus at 7:00 p.m. The game can be heard on BOB 106.1 FM and KBGY 107.5 FM, or online at Wild.com.
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It's time for Nick Schultz
, the franchise's all-time leader in games played to be recognized with a small-bodied, big-headed statue. Yes, the third installment of the Year Ten All-Time Team Bobblehead series will be handed out to the first 5,000 fans tonight. An additional 250 will be awarded to second chance winners during the game.
Sometimes you look at a team with superstars and you say what really makes that team great is their supporting cast. And yes, Dan Boyle, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture are an excellent supporting cast. But let's face it, this team is about that top line. Just look at some of these stats.
Among active players aged 31 or younger, Thornton leads them all with 946 points.
Among active players, only five - Nicklas Lidstrom, Martin Brodeur, Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and Daniel Alfredsson - have played more games with one NHL team than Marleau.
And since the NHL returned from the lockout, only Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk have scored more goals than Heatley.
's pretty set up of Zidlicky's goal on Saturday gave him a point in six straight games, one shy of his career-high point streak. The Wild captain has at least one point in all but one game this season, and leads the team in scoring with three goals and eight assists.
In three straight games, the Wild has successfully held some of the best scoring lines in the League in check. It started with the Ovechkin line, and then came the Toews line. Tonight, it gets the Thornton line. You'd hope things would get easier on Friday, but that's when the Iginla line comes to town.
Both teams will be trying to keep their sticks down in this one, because it won't be a good idea for anybody to take a penalty. The Sharks boast the best power play in the NHL, firing along at a 31.8 % clip. The Wild is just shy of that, converting on 30.2% of its man advantage opportunities.
will start the game on the top line, but Todd Richards has hinted that he may give Martin Havlat
more time with Koivu and Andrew Brunette
will return to the lineup tonight after missing three games with injury and sitting out on Saturday as a healthy scratch:
Backstrom, who appears to be in the proverbial zone after one month, will get the start again.
will be the only healthy scratch tonight.
(concussion) remains out of the lineup. Guillaume Latendresse (groin) and Antti Miettinen
(head) are also out.
“I was planning on getting some sleep this afternoon. You just ruined that."
-- Todd Richards at today's morning skate when reminded that the Sharks have 20 goals in their last four wins.
Sharks Assistant Coach Matt Shaw was the Wild's Video Coach from 2007 to 2009.
San Jose's five-game win streak over the Wild is the longest current streak of any team against Minnesota.