National Hockey League
Wild-Sharks Preview
National Hockey League

Wild-Sharks Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 3:48 p.m. ET

One of the most encouraging developments during San Jose's surge is how well the Sharks have been playing at home.

The Minnesota Wild would like nothing more than to put a damper on that to conclude their road trip.

San Jose looks to keep rolling as Minnesota tries to win back-to-back games for the first time in 2016 on Saturday night.

The Sharks (24-18-3) are tied with Vancouver for second place in the Pacific Division despite starting 5-12-0 at home. They've outscored opponents 27-13 during a 6-0-1 stretch that includes a 3-0-1 mark at SAP Center.


San Jose has made up for its woes at home with the second-most road victories in the league (16-6-2) and is coming off a 3-1 victory at Arizona on Thursday that moved them ahead of the Coyotes in a tight division race.

"You look around the league and everyone else is winning games," coach Peter DeBoer said. "You've got to hold serve."

Tommy Wingels and Chris Tierney scored in the first period before Patrick Marleau added an empty-netter on the power play. Marleau's goal ended a nine-game drought and gave him just his second point over his last eight.

Martin Jones made 23 saves and has won his last five starts with a 1.76 goals-against average. He has a 1.29 GAA while winning his last three at home after having a 2.87 GAA in his first 15 there.

"I really liked our game (Thursday)," DeBoer said. "From our goalie to our special teams to the four lines and six defensemen, we got contributions from everybody. I was really comfortable that we were going to show up and play a good game."

The Sharks weren't nearly as good in their first meeting with Minnesota (23-16-8), falling 2-0 on Dec. 12. Zach Parise scored early in the third before Mikko Koivu added an empty-netter in the first of the last five matchups that wasn't decided by one goal.

Parise scored on the power play Thursday against Los Angeles as the Wild ended an 0-for-25 drought with the man advantage. Erik Haula added a shorthanded goal in a 3-0 victory that snapped a five-game skid during which they managed only four goals.

Minnesota hasn't won back-to-back games since Dec. 28 and 31.

"I think we really needed (the win) for our own psyche," Parise said. "It's been getting tough lately. Losing a lot of games and not producing on offense, it was frustrating. The frustration was creeping in."

Coach Mike Yeo reunited Parise, Koivu, Ryan Suter, Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville on the top power-play unit. Minnesota went 1 for 32 with the man advantage over its previous 16 after tying for eighth in power-play efficiency at 20.8 percent prior to that.

"To get that group back together, we had confidence in it and we moved (the puck) well," Suter said.

Yeo especially was impressed with Darcy Kuemper, who made 32 saves in his second shutout of the season - the first coming when he blanked the Sharks last month.

Yeo said after the game there's a good chance Kuemper, who is 5-1-2 with a 1.20 GAA in seven starts and one relief effort since Dec. 5, could get the start to complete the four-game trip.

Jones lost the first meeting but has stopped 65 of 67 shots in two starts and one relief appearance in his career against the Wild.


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