Afternoon, State of Hockey Legion!
The Wild skates in a matinee game today against the San Jose Chum, err, Sharks. Minnesota is fresh off a three-game road trip, which they just happened to sweep. So add the win the team scored in its last game at Xcel Energy Center and a win today would make it five in a row.
This is the first of three meetings between the Wild and Sharks. Looking back at last season, Minnesota owned the series against San Jose, three games to one.
This marks the first time that Torrey Mitchell plays against his old mates, as the ex-Shark signed with Minnesota on July 1. Today’s matinee is also the first time that Charlie Coyle plays against San Jose, the team that drafted him in the first round (28th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Going in net for the good guys will again be Niklas Backstrom. He’s had trouble previously against the Sharks, but he’s been so hot I expect him to turn that luck around today.
Tom Gilbert is available, but a game-time decision with a lower body injury. If he’s in, then Nate Prosser will be the game’s healthy scratch. Brett Clark is a healthy scratch as he waits to make his first appearance in a Wild sweater. Josh Harding is still on Injured Reserve as he receives treatment for multiple sclerosis, but at yesterday’s practice Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said he has been “feeling great” lately and we’re all hoping he can return soon.
The Wild rocks its Forrest Green third jerseys with Minnesota across the chest, while the San Jose wear its white sweaters with shark-bite logo.
To get in-game updates, check out @mnwildLIVE on Twitter.
Let’s rock this joint!
UPDATED: Tom Gilbert is in the lineup, so Nate Prosser is a healthy scratch.
Period 1 - MIN 0, SJS 0
No scoring to report in that period, but the Wild owned the puck possession game in the opening frame, and I'm not just saying that because we're on Wild.com. Minnesota out-hustled, out-played and outshot the Sharks, 10-6.
The boys were just reacclimatizing to the home confines of Xcel Energy Center and I fully expect them to pour it on in the next two periods. Stay tuned.
Period 2 - MIN 1, SJS 0
Well, the Wild finally broke through in the second frame and it came as time expired on the man advantage.
Zach Parise scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season in the second period. He took a beautiful, cross-seam pass from Mikko Koivu at the right faceoff dot, collected the puck and roofed it over Sharks' netminder Antti Niemi. Ryan Suter picked up the second assist on the play.
Through two periods, the Wild owns a 19-14 shot advantage and look to capitalize even more in the final frame. Don't miss it. Well, if you do, you can always come back to Wild.com for the highlights, recap and more.
Period 3 - MIN 2, SJS 0
The Wild took advantage of a power play that spilled over from the second period to extend its lead, and never looked back.
Jared Spurgeon took the Wild to the gun show with his fourth goal of the season. He took a Suter pass in the wheelhouse and uncorked a bomb high past Niemi's glove. Koivu picked up the second assist on the play.
The Wild went on lockdown mode for the rest of the game, led by Backstrom's 19 saves in the period for a game total of 33. For his effort, Backstrom was named the game's first star and rightfully so.
The Wild travels to Dallas on Monday to put out the Stars.