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Wild at Sharks preview

Stalock starts against former team for Minnesota; San Jose has lost five of six

by Ross McKeon / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

WILD (5-9-1) at SHARKS (5-10-1)

10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV 

 

The Game

Two teams trying to climb out of early-season holes face off when the San Jose Sharks host the Minnesota Wild at SAP Center on Thursday.

The Sharks are coming off a 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday after losing the first two games of a six-game homestand. San Jose has been outscored 24-12 while going 1-5-0 in its last six games.

The Wild rallied to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 on Tuesday in the opener of a four-game road trip, ending a three-game winless streak (0-2-1).

Minnesota is 13th in the Western Conference; San Jose is 14th.

Minnesota backup goalie Alex Stalock will start against his former team for the second time in his career. Martin Jones will start his second straight game and fourth in five for San Jose.

 

Players to watch

Wild center Eric Staal has three goals and six points during a five-game scoring streak.

Sharks forward Evander Kane has goals in consecutive games and a three-game point streak.

 

They said it

"They are difference-makers. Both have been difference-makers for years. What you don't want is for them to start feeling it. When they're both on they're dangerous. Our job is to not let them get on." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on Sharks defensemen Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns.

"For me, we've played two of our best games of the year out of the last three. We've got to start to replicate those types of performances night in and night out. Like I told the group today, 'It felt good last game because you put the work in and everybody was pulling in the same direction.'" -- Sharks coach Peter DeBoer

 

Wild projected lineup

Jason Zucker -- Eric Staal -- Mats Zuccarello

Zach Parise -- Mikko Koivu -- Kevin Fiala

Marcus Foligno -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Jordan Greenway

Ryan Donato -- Luke Kunin -- Ryan Hartman

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Carson Soucy -- Brad Hunt

Alex Stalock

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Victor Rask, Nick Seeler

Injured: Greg Pateryn (bilateral core muscle), Mason Shaw (knee)

 

Sharks projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Logan Couture -- Kevin Labanc

Timo Meier -- Tomas Hertl -- Barclay Goodrow

Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Patrick Marleau

Lean Bergmann -- Dylan Gambrell -- Noah Gregor

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Erik Karlsson

Radim Simek -- Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon -- Mario Ferraro

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Trevor Carrick, Lukas Radil

Injured: Jacob Middleton (shoulder), Dalton Prout (upper body), Melker Karlsson (upper body)

 

Status report

Stalock will start for the second straight game after defeating Anaheim. … Gambrell will be a game-time decision after missing three games. … Melker Karlsson is day to day. … Prout and Middleton took part in San Jose's morning skate but wore non-contact jerseys.

 

Stat pack

Zuccarello has scored a goal in three straight games and owns a four-game point streak (three goals, two assists). … Spurgeon (two assists), Eriksson Ek (two assists) and Parise (one goal, one assist) have two-game point streaks. … Fiala has a goal in each of his past two games after failing to score in his first eight. … Hertl has two goals and four points in his past four games. … Goodrow has a three-game point streak (one goal, three assists).

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