Wild hope to keep Sharks circling the drain

Wild hope to keep Sharks circling the drain

Published Dec. 12, 2013 8:13 a.m. ET

The San Jose Sharks' losing streak already includes a meeting with the Minnesota Wild.

Perhaps facing them at home will produce a different result.

The Sharks attempt to avoid matching their longest slide of the season by continuing their home dominance of the Wild on Thursday night.

San Jose (19-6-6) has been outscored 16-7 while losing four games in a row. Those struggles continued with Tuesday's 3-2 shootout defeat to the New York Islanders, two days after losing 3-1 at Minnesota (18-10-5).

The scoring chances have been there since the Sharks have totaled 86 shots over the last two games. However, they may be more concerned with blowing a two-goal, third-period lead to the Islanders, who had lost 10 games in a row overall and on the road.

"Third period in our building up 2-0, we've got to win those games," said center Joe Pavelski, who had a goal Tuesday to end a six-game drought.

The Sharks don't tend to have many problems when hosting the Wild, going 11-1-1 over the past 13 home meetings. They won the most recent 6-1 on April 18, when Logan Couture had a career-high four points.

The center had an assist on Patrick Marleau's goal at Minnesota on Sunday, and they both have 30 points to tie for second behind Joe Thornton's team-leading 32.

Marleau has two goals and two assists over the past three games after getting one of each against the Islanders. He's managed seven goals and six assists over the past eight home meetings with the Wild.

Pavelski has also been effective when hosting Minnesota, scoring seven goals while assisting on six others in 11 lifetime games.

The Wild are mired in a four-game road losing streak after falling 2-1 at Anaheim on Wednesday, opening a stretch of seven road games among eight overall.

Finding the net earlier could help them solve their road woes. Minnesota has been outscored 5-1 in the opening period over the last 10 games and failed to tally in the opening 20 minutes in five straight on the road.

"We've got to find a way to create more offense, especially early in the game," captain Mikko Koivu said.

Jason Pominville is doing his part, leading Minnesota with 15 goals -- his latest coming Tuesday. The right wing has two goals and three assists over the past six games after managing one point in the previous seven.

He has four goals and five assists in 10 career meetings with the Sharks, getting an assist Sunday.

Zach Parise had two goals in that meeting, but was held off the scoresheet Wednesday. The left wing leads the Wild with 26 points, but he's scored just three of his 14 goals on the road.

He has 11 points in 10 games versus the Sharks, including four over his latest four visits to San Jose. However, Parise didn't get a point and was a minus-3 there on April 18.