2 - 3 Final
  for this game

Wild close trip in San Jose

Mar 17, 2011 - 3:23 PM
(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild will try to salvage the finale of a four-game homestand this evening as they visit HP Pavilion the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks, who will be without forward Dany Heatley.

The Wild have been outscored 12-2 over the first three games of this residency, getting shut out in back-to-back games by the Predators and Stars before losing Monday's contest in Vancouver, 4-2. With just 12 games remaining, Minnesota is four points back of the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

Captain Mikko Koivu returned on Monday from an 11-game absence caused by a broken finger, setting up Andrew Brunette's tally while also lighting the lamp himself. However, all three of the goals Niklas Backstrom allowed on 21 shots came in the first period.

"It wasn't a good start for us or Backstrom," said Minnesota head coach Todd Richards. "He had a rough first period, but then he held down the fort and gave us a chance to come back."

In addition to Koivu's return, Cal Clutterbuck also came back from a four-game absence due to a concussion, while Clayton Stoner played for the first time in four games due to an abdominal ailment. However, Guillaume Latendresse, Cam Barker and Marek Zidlicky are all questionable due to injury.

Minnesota had won its first two games versus San Jose this year after a five- game series losing streak, but was bested by a 4-3 margin at HP Pavilion on Jan. 22. The Wild have lost three straight and seven of their last eight at the Sharks, who have won 14 of the past 18 meetings overall.

San Jose snapped an 0-1-2 slide on Tuesday with a 6-3 victory at Dallas. Joe Thornton and Heatley both capped two-goal games by scoring into an empty net in the game's final 1:08.

The Sharks won't have Heatley's services tonight, though, after the forward was suspended for two games by the league on Wednesday due to an elbow to the head of the Stars' Steve Ott.

Torrey Mitchell and Ryane Clowe also tallied in the third period and Joe Pavelski notched a career-best four assists for the Sharks, who improved to 19-4-3 in their past 26 games and lead the Kings and Coyotes by three points for the Pacific's top spot.

Antti Niemi stopped 34-of-37 shots in his 26th straight start.

"It was just a good win," Thornton said. "We feel like we're never out of a game."

Niclas Wallin left Tuesday's game with an upper-body injury and is questionable for tonight.

The Sharks will play their next three at home as they return to the HP Pavilion for the first time since a 3-1-2 residency from March 1-12.

Niemi has won both of his previous career starts versus the Wild, stopping 44- of-47 shots faced, while Backstrom is 4-8-3 with a 3.03 GAA versus the Sharks.

  • 66
    RUWTbot Added 11 roots (Close Finish)

    Wild 2, Sharks 3  3rd - 2:28Mar 18 12:58 AM
  • 55
    RUWTbot Added 14 roots (Close Finish)

    Wild 2, Sharks 3  3rd - 4:11Mar 18 12:57 AM
  • 41
    RUWTbot Added 18 roots (Close Finish)

    Wild 2, Sharks 3  3rd - 7:25Mar 18 12:46 AM

  • Chuck Kobasew wrist shot on Antti Niemi.

    Wild 2, Sharks 3  3rd - 14:18Mar 18 12:31 AM
  • 23
    RUWTbot Took away 36 roots (Close Finish)

    Wild 2, Sharks 3  3rd - 14:18Mar 18 12:31 AM

    SAN JOSE: 2
    End of 2nd

    Mar 18 12:05 AM

  • Minnesota Goal - Kyle Brodziak (16), from Martin Havlat at 13:23.

    Wild 2, Sharks 2  2nd - 6:37Mar 17 11:52 PM
  • 59
    RUWTbot Added 36 roots

    Wild 2, Sharks 2  2nd - 6:37Mar 17 11:52 PM

  • San Jose Goal - Logan Couture (27), from Douglas Murray and Jason Demers at 11:33.

    Wild 1, Sharks 2  2nd - 8:27Mar 17 11:49 PM
  • 23
    RUWTbot Took away 36 roots

    Wild 1, Sharks 2  2nd - 8:27Mar 17 11:49 PM
  • 59
    RUWTbot Added 39 roots

    Wild 1, Sharks 1  2nd - 9:46Mar 17 11:45 PM

    SAN JOSE: 1
    End of 1st

    Mar 17 11:13 PM

  • Minnesota Short-Handed Goal - John Madden (12), at 14:53.

    Wild 1, Sharks 1  1st - 5:07Mar 17 11:03 PM

  • San Jose Goal - Jamal Mayers (3), from Joe Pavelski and Torrey Mitchell at 11:29.

    Wild 0, Sharks 1  1st - 8:31Mar 17 10:56 PM

    SAN JOSE: 0
    1st Period - 20:00

    Mar 17 10:38 PM
  • 20
    RUWTbot Added 20 roots

    Wild vs. SharksJun 23 6:03 AM