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Minnesota
Wild
48-26-8
San Jose
Sharks
51-26-5

23 SOG
30 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
MIN
SJS
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Wild-Sharks Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Wild-Sharks Preview
Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks

The Minnesota Wild have played well at home this season, but they haven't had many opportunities to prove themselves on the road until now.

The Wild open a five-game road trip Tuesday when they visit the San Jose Sharks.

Minnesota (10-3-0) has won eight of nine games at home this season to surge to the top of the Northwest Division. The lone home defeat came Saturday, when the Wild fell 4-3 to the Nashville Predators, ending a 12-game winning streak at the Xcel Energy Center that dated to last season.

"Our goal is to go in and win every game," said Mark Parrish, who scored a goal in the defeat. "We have to go on the road here, five-game swing, and we want to win every single one of those games as well."

Minnesota has played a league-low four games on the road this season, going 2-2. The Wild recorded one of their wins at San Jose, a 4-1 victory Oct. 21 in which Manny Fernandez made 31 saves and came 6:20 shy of a shutout.

Coach Jacques Lemaire said that the trip will be a good test for his players.

"We need to learn," he said. "I think that if we get the guys we need to play better, if they play on the road better than here, we'll be OK."

Pavol Demitra and Petteri Nummelin each had a goal and an assist Saturday for the Wild, who gave up the game-winner in the third period and lost for the first time in 10 games when tied or leading after two periods. Demitra had scored just one goal in his previous six games, struggling without linemate Marian Gaborik, who has not played since Oct. 20 because of a groin strain.

However, Lemaire moved Demitra from center to wing against the Predators and moved up Mikko Koivu - who had two assists - including one on Demitra's goal, to center his line.

"I think Pavol has a little more life on the wing," Lemaire said. "He skates a little more, which I'm pleased to see.

"And Mikko, (it) gives him a chance to play with top players and play against top players. He's a young guy that's getting better, and we want to see how far he's going to go."

Wes Walz returned after missing two games with a leg injury, but sat out the entire third period and is questionable for Tuesday's game. Winger Derek Boogaard missed his second straight game with a lower body injury.

Minnesota has had plenty of success in San Jose recently, winning its last four games there.

The Sharks have won three of four, including Saturday's 3-2 win over Pittsburgh Penguins that ended their five-game winning streak. Kyle McLaren had a goal and an assist, and helped San Jose turn in a physical game against a young, talented squad.

McLaren also scored a goal in San Jose's 3-1 loss Thursday to the New York Rangers, giving him goals in consecutive games for the first time in his career.

"I don't care who we're playing against or what, my role is banging the body," McLaren said. "With skilled players, you need to finish your checks. It doesn't need to be a bone-crushing check but you have to finish it."

Joe Thornton added three assists for the Sharks, who won for the first time in three home games. Thornton has a team-high 18 points, but only two goals.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 06 '07 SJS 3 at MIN 0 M. Michalek
Nov 29 '06 SJS 2 at MIN 1 S. Bernier
Nov 07 '06 MIN 1 at SJS 3 J. Thornton
Oct 21 '06 MIN 4 at SJS 1 S. Veilleux