In the Crease: Wild, former Sharks visit San Jose

In the Crease: Wild, former Sharks visit San Jose
January 25, 2014, 9:30 am
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Alex Stalock (left) recorded his second straight shutout in the Sharks' 1-0 win over the Flames on Thursday. (USATSI)

Programming note 
Sharks-Wild coverage gets underway at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 33-12-6, 72 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 4th Western Conference
Wild: 28-20-5, 61 points, 4th Central Division, 8th Western Conference

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 3.02 (5th)
Goals-against per game: 2.31 (5th)
Power play: 19.0 percent (14th)
Penalty kill: 83.2 percent (11th)

Wild
Goals per game: 2.28 (27th)
Goals-against per game: 2.38 (T - 6th)
Power play: 17.6 percent (20th)
Penalty kill: 79.3 percent (23rd)

Probable lines

Sharks
Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Matt Nieto – Patrick Marleau – Tommy Wingels
Bracken Kearns – Andrew Desjardins – Tyler Kennedy
Eriah Hayes – John McCarthy – Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Jason Demers
Brad Stuart – Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle

Antti NIemi
Alex Stalock

Wild
Zach Parise – Charlie Coyle – Nino Niederreiter
Dany Heatley – Mikael Granlund – Jason Pominville
Matt Cooke – Kyle Brodziak – Justin Fontaine
Jason Zucker – Erik Haula – Torrey Mitchell

Ryan Suter – Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella – Nate Prosser
Keith Ballard – Clayton Stoner

Darcy Kuemper
Niklas Backstrom

The latest

Sharks: The Sharks will be playing for the first time since announcing three-year contract extensions for Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, both of whom were pending restricted free agents. San Jose has won its last five games, including a 1-0 win over Winnipeg on Thursday behind Joe Pavelski’s goal and Alex Stalock’s 20 saves. San Jose wraps up a four-game homestand with the Kings on Monday.

Wild: The Wild scored twice in the first period on the way to a 2-1 victory over Chicago on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center. Jason Pominville and Matt Cooke were the goal scorers, and Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves for the win. Minnesota is kicking off a four-game road trip that continues with stops in Anaheim, Colorado and Calgary. The Wild is 8-3-0 since the calendar flipped to 2014.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Justin Braun. The Minnesota native has an assist in each of his last two games, and is the Sharks’ leader in ice time per game with 21 minutes and 22 seconds. Along with his assist on Thursday against the Jets, Braun has four shots on goal and a team-high three blocked shots.

Wild: Charlie Coyle. The former Sharks first round draft pick was part of the Brent Burns trade in 2011, and has six points in his last seven games (2g, 4a), including his first career two-goal game on Jan. 11 vs. Colorado. In five games against the Sharks, though, Coyle has just one goal.

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee surgery), Raffi Torres (right knee surgery), Adam Burish (back surgery), Scott Hannan (upper body) and Logan Couture (right hand) are out.

Wild: Josh Harding (illness), Jared Spurgeon (lower body) and Mikko Koivu (fractured ankle) are out.

Season/All-Time series

This is the third and final meeting between the teams, each of whom have defended their home ice. Minnesota won 3-1 at Xcel Energy Center on Dec. 8 despite getting outshot 38-13, and the Sharks took a 3-1 win at SAP Center four days later.

The Sharks are 27-15-2-5 all-time against the Wild. Minnesota has won the last six head-to-head games on its home ice, but is 1-8-0 in its last nine visits to the Bay Area.

Quoteable

“As far as [Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau] go, I couldn’t be happier for them. They deserve it. I’m glad they’re going to be a part of this team moving forward. As for myself, I don’t have anything to report.” – Dan Boyle, a pending unrestricted free agent

Burning question

Where would you like to see an outdoor game played in the Bay Area?

Leave your answer in the comments section below.