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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. San Jose

Evason makes debut as Wild's interim head coach Saturday against Sharks

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /
The essentials

Who: San Jose Sharks (25-28-4) at Minnesota Wild (27-23-7)

Puck drop: 4:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports App

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild, @mnwildscribe; GameCenter

The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling

ST. PAUL -- The Dean Evason era begins in earnest on Saturday afternoon when the Wild hosts the San Jose Sharks at Xcel Energy Center.

Evason was named the Wild's interim head coach on Friday after Wild General Manager Bill Guerin announced it had relieved Bruce Boudreau of his coaching duties. 

Officially, Evason will be the sixth man to serve as either head coach or interim head coach in franchise history. 

"I'm just going to try to be myself. I'm going to just try to lead," Evason said on Friday. "You have to be, I believe, who you are and you have to do what you believe in when you get these type of opportunities. 

"I'll lean on the coaches and we will come up with a game plan each and every day to how we go about things. It is a team. It won't be me, it'll be us going forward. But I'll try to lead as the head coach."

Video: Evason takes over as interim head coach

The Wild will begin the day Saturday three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, but with three games in hand. 

Even with an abundance of change inside the organization this week, the expectation is that the Wild will reach the postseason after a one-year absence last year. 

"Absolutely. We are pushing through and like I said before, I expect this team to compete for a playoff spot," Guerin said. "I think maybe some adjustments or a different voice that Dean will bring will help the guys."

Minnesota is coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday night, and the Wild has earned at least one point in eight of its past 11 games. 

Video: Bill Guerin discusses coaching change

In addition to Evason's debut behind the bench, the Wild will also celebrate Zach Parise skating in his 1,000th NHL contest in a pre-game, on-ice ceremony. 

Parise became the 347th player (344th skater) in NHL history to play in 1,000 games in the League last week in a win against the Dallas Stars. He is the eighth player to reach the milestone in a Wild uniform and second this season. 

The Wild and Sharks will matchup for the second of three games on Saturday. San Jose secured a 6-5 win at SAP Center on Nov. 7. Eric Staal had a goal and two assists in the game, while Luke Kunin had a goal and one assist to lead Minnesota. Six different Sharks tallied multiple points. 

San Jose is coming off a 3-2 win Friday night in Winnipeg against the Jets. It is the second game of a quick two-game road trip. The Sharks will return home for one game Monday night before embarking on a four-game trip to the East Coast. 

Defenseman Erik Karlsson leads the Sharks with 34 assists and 40 points. Evander Kane's 21 goals rank first on the club. Seven Sharks have tallied at least 10 goals this season.

Goaltender Aaron Dell earned the start Friday and made 29 saves in the victory. Martin Jones is expected to get the nod on Saturday. Jones is 13-17-2 in 33 games this season (32 starts) while posting a 3.25 goals-against average and an .889 save percentage. He made 21 saves in the win over Minnesota in November.


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