The San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild face off for the first of three meetings this year tonight at the SAP Center. The Wild are coming off a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets; a game that captivated the hockey world as two teams with 12+ game winning streaks faced off for the first time in North American professional sports history.
The result was not what the Wild expected but they look to rebound against San Jose who only earned a point in a two-game series against their in-state rival, the Los Angeles Kings, in an overtime loss on January 3.
Sharks Lose Nieto, Reinforce Blueline Again
Sharks bottom-six forward Matt Nieto was claimed off the waiver wire.
Many thought this would open the door for a forward to be recalled from the San Jose Barracuda but the Sharks elected instead to recall Tim Heed. The additional defender now puts eight active defenders on the Sharks roster and Marc-Edouard Vlasic is expected to return from injury after taking a puck to the face against the Flyers.
David Schlemko could make it into the lineup but still nursing an upper body injury.
Mikkel Boedker will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season. He has been a disappointment since signing a 4-year, $16 million contract this summer. The eighth overall pick from the 2008 NHL Entry Draft has just two goals with San Jose and has not scored since November 1 against the Arizona Coyotes.
Wild Solid In Both Zones
The Wild are one of the best teams in the NHL and are doing it at both ends of the ice. Minnesota has allowed only 76 goals against this season, the stingiest in the Western Conference. Their 113 goals scored is tied with the Winnipeg Jets for tops in the West as well.
Eric Staal has revitalized his career since arriving in Minnesota. His time with the Wild already has him closing in on his totals from last season which was split between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers resulting in a disappointing 39 points in 83 games. Staal signed with the Wild this offseason and is tied for the team lead in points with 11 goals and 19 assists.
Minnesota Wild at San Jose Sharks
SAP Center – 7:30 p.m. PST
Broadcast channels – CSN-CA, FS-N, FS-WI
Radio: Sharks Radio Network
2016-17 Season Series:
First game of the season
San Jose Sharks – 23-13-2 (48 Points)
Home Record: 13-4-1
Hot Players: Kevin Labanc, Martin Jones
Key Injuries: Tomas Hertl, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, David Schlemko
Timo Meier – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Kevin Labanc
Patrick Marleau – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Justin Braun
Mirco Mueller – Dylan DeMelo
Minnesota Wild – 23-9-4 (50 Points)
Road Record: 10-5-4
Hot Players: Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu, Jared Spurgeon
Key Injuries: Victor Bartley
Zach Parise – Eric Staal – Jason Pominville
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Mikael Granlund
Nino Niederreiter – Erik Haula – Charlie Coyle
Chris Stewart – Tyler Graovac – Jordan Schroeder
Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin – Matt Dumba
Marco Scandella – Christian Folin
Devan Dubnyk (Projected Starter)
1)The San Jose Sharks lost Long Beach, CA native Matt Nieto to waivers this morning. He was claimed by the Colorado Avalanche. With the open roster spot, Tim Heed was recalled from the San Jose Barracuda. Heed, 26, is tied for the AHL scoring lead by a defenseman with 30 and is second on the Barracuda only to Danny O’Regan.
2)Brent Burns game notes update: Burns has two goals and three assists in his last five games. The two-time NHL All-Star leads the Sharks with 15 goals and 35 points. He also continues to lead the NHL with 152 shots on goal.
3)This is the first game for the Minnesota Wild since their historic showdown with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Wild had won 12 straight games before the 4-2 loss to Columbus.
4)Devan Dubnyk has been phenomenal for the Wild since he was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes nearly two years ago. Since arriving in St. Paul, the former Edmonton Oiler first-round selection has a .928 save percentage, 2.04 goals against average and 15 shutouts in just 135 games. So far this year, he has a staggering 19-7-3 record allowing only 1.75 goals per contest and stopping a ridiculous .941% of all shots faced.
5)Former San Jose Sharks prospect Carlie Coyle is leading the Wild in goals (12) and tied for the team lead in scoring with 30 points.
Coyle was part of the package shipped from San Jose to the Wild in exchange for Brent Burns. Coyle was selected by the Sharks in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft 28th overall.
6)The Wild have a losing record against the San Jose Sharks going 22-27-7 in their history, including a 9-17-3 mark when visiting San Jose.