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Sharks aim to end skid against Wild

by Brian Compton

WILD (18-10-5) at SHARKS (19-6-6)


Last 10: Minnesota 4-5-1; San Jose 6-3-1

Season series: This is the second of three games between the Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks. The Wild earned a 3-1 victory against San Jose at Xcel Energy Center last Sunday.

Big story: The Sharks have hit a bump in the road and look to end a four-game winless streak Thursday. San Jose fell to 0-3-1 in its past four on Tuesday, when it blew a 2-0 lead in the third period and dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the New York Islanders at SAP Center.

"What's disappointing for me is three of the last four games, the top line on the other team has handled us," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "They've done all the damage. Out shutdown group, our guys that we rely on in that situation are getting beat right now, along with the goaltender. That has to improve."

Team Scope:

Wild: Minnesota's Josh Harding found himself in a goaltending duel Wednesday night and was solid in a 29-save performance, but Jonas Hiller stopped 23 of 24 shots and Corey Perry's goal at 13:27 of the second period proved to be the difference in the Wild's 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

Jason Pominville got the Wild within a goal via the power play 3:48 into the third, but Minnesota couldn't find the equalizer and dropped the opener of its three-game road trip.

"Defensively, I think we're good," captain Mikko Koivu said. "Offensively, we have to find it, each and every line. We have to create more. It's tough to win with one goal ... it's a matter of scoring goals, getting that confidence up. It's not easy but it's about execution. You just have to start creating and find a way."

Sharks: Truth be told, San Jose probably deserved a better fate Tuesday. The Sharks outshot the Islanders 18-3 in the first period, only to have New York goaltender Kevin Poulin keep San Jose off the scoreboard through 20 minutes. The Sharks broke through in the second period on goals from Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski, but the Islanders rallied from the 2-0 deficit with goals in the first and final minute of the third to send the game to overtime. Kyle Okposo beat Antti Niemi in the fourth round of the shootout to deny the Sharks of a second point in the standings.

"You go into the third with a 2-0 lead, you want to close out those games," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said.

Who's hot: Pominville scored his 15th goal of the season Wednesday. He has points in five of the past six games. … Marleau has two goals and two assists in the past three games for San Jose.

Injury report: Wild center Mikael Granlund (concussion) is on injured reserve. … Raffi Torres (knee) and Adam Bush (lower body) are on injured reserve for the Sharks.

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