The San Jose Sharks lead the league in power-play goals scored this season. They may wish they'd saved some of them heading into their game against the Minnesota Wild.
In a matchup of two of the Western Conference's top teams, the Sharks meet the Wild - trying to rebound from their first loss of the season - at HP Pavilion on Saturday night.
The Sharks (6-1-0) tied a franchise record by scoring five power-play goals in a 5-1 win over the Red Wings on Thursday. San Jose also had five power-play tallies in a February game against Detroit.
Though the Sharks lead the NHL with 14 man-advantage goals in 2006-07, they cannot seem to score one when facing the Wild at home. In losing their last three games at HP Pavilion to Minnesota, the Sharks went 0-for-13 on the power play.
"It's just about taking advantage of your opportunities," said center Patrick Marleau, who scored twice against Detroit on Thursday. "Everybody is doing great, and hopefully we can keep it going."
San Jose's Milan Michalek kept his amazing start going. He tallied his fourth power-play goal in the win over the Red Wings, matching his total in 81 games last season. The right wing also leads the team with six goals in only seven games - it took him 42 games in 2005-06 before he scored his seventh goal.
Vesa Toskala's shutout bid ended midway through the third period when he gave up a goal to Jiri Hudler. Toskala, who finished with 21 saves to win his 11th straight regular-season start dating back to last season, is 3-0 with a shootout loss and 1.31 goals-against average in five career games versus Minnesota.
The Sharks have nine man-advantage goals at home this season, and have outscored their opponents 14-5 en route to a 4-0-0 mark. Minnesota, which wraps up a three-game California road trip with this contest, is 5-0-0 at home.
The Wild (6-1-0) lost for the first time this season Friday after dropping a 2-1 decision to the Anaheim Ducks.
"It could have gone either way," Minnesota defenseman Keith Carney said after facing his former teammates. "They got a good bounce on their first goal and got the lead on us. We just didn't take advantage of our chances. Both teams played well."
The Wild did keep high-scoring forwards Teemu Selanne and Chris Kunitz off the scoresheeet, but goaltender Manny Fernandez - who's started every game this season - gave up second-period goals to defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Sean O'Donnell.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who had a career-high 17 goals last season, scored his first in the loss. Brian Rolston drew an assist, giving him three goals and two assists in a three-game points streak.
He recorded his second career hat trick in a 3-1 win Nov. 5 over the Sharks in San Jose.
Pavol Demitra, tied with Rolston for the team lead with eight points, had five assists and six points in four games versus the Sharks last season while with Los Angeles. Four of his assists came on the power play.