NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, April 3rd
(All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (21-12-2) at San Jose Sharks (18-11-6), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks take aim at a sixth straight victory on
Wednesday night when they play host to the last team that beat them, the
The Sharks were shut out 2-0 in Minnesota on March 23, but have since
outscored their opponents by a 17-7 margin over their longest winning streak
since they set a franchise record by winning their first seven games of the
season from Jan. 20-31.
San Jose has won the first four of a seven-game homestand and is an excellent
12-1-4 as the host this season. The club stayed hot on Monday by holding off
the Vancouver Canucks 3-2.
Andrew Desjardins, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture all scored in a 2:13 span
during the second period to put the Sharks up 3-0 and Antti Niemi made it hold
up by stopping 23 shots.
"When it gets 3-0, everyone gets kind of comfortable," Thornton said. "We know
how quickly it can vanish, but it was nice we held on for the two points."
The two points have the Sharks sixth overall in the Western Conference, but
just one point back of the Los Angeles Kings for fifth place.
With Wednesday's trade deadline approaching, the Sharks made forward Ryane
Clowe a healthy scratch as his name continued to appear in trade rumors and he
was finally dealt on Tuesday to the New York Rangers.
In return, San Jose picked up second- and third-round picks in 2013 and a
conditional choice in 2014. It will be a second-round selection if the Rangers
win two playoff series or re-sign Clowe, otherwise it is a fifth-rounder.
The 30-year-old has scored 101 goals with 271 points in 423 career games with
the Sharks, but has no goals and 11 helpers in 28 games this season.
"Ryane is a tremendously respected player and teammate, and an individual of
outstanding character," said San Jose general manager Doug Wilson. "These
deals involving players who have spent a substantial amount of time in and
contributed much to San Jose are difficult but it's also important for us to
get value for a player who is set to be an unrestricted free agent."
The Wild are also an excellent home team, but they'll try to move above .500
on the road (8-8-1) Wednesday night after suffering a 4-1 defeat to the
visiting St. Louis Blues on Monday.
Dany Heatley scored the lone goal for the Wild, who were outshot 12-5 in the
first period and remained tied with the Vancouver Canucks atop the Northwest
Division with 44 points. Minnesota does have a game in hand.
"I think this game gives us a reminder of what we need to do to be
successful," said Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo. "That's basically it in a
nutshell. Unfortunately we couldn't buy a goal there when we made a push late
in the game, but we didn't come out good and that's what happens."
Niklas Backstrom turned aside 20-of-24 shots and had a personal eight-decision
win streak snapped for Minnesota, which lost for only the second time in its
last 10 games.
Not only did the Wild lose the game, but center Matt Cullen suffered a lower
body injury on Monday that will sideline him for at least the next two games.
Backstrom made 33 saves in the shutout win over the Sharks on March 23, while
Zach Parise and Jared Spurgeon scored once each. It was Minnesota's fourth
straight win over San Jose.
Antti Niemi allowed both goals on 24 shots for the Sharks, who have won five
of six and nine of their past 11 at home against the Wild.
04/03 10:44:25 ET