The Minnesota Wild have won just three of their last 10; however, a visit from the San Jose Sharks could be just what they need.
The Wild have won seven straight home meetings with the Sharks and have not lost at home to San Jose since April 2010.
Sharks center Joe Thornton will miss his third straight game with an upper body injury.
San Jose forward Joe Pavelski assisted on two goals against the Jets and has at least a point in three straight games and in six of his past seven overall.
Tomas Hertl is expected to be in the lineup a day after taking a puck to the face in Winnipeg.
The Sharks enter tonight’s game having won two of three.
You can watch the game and the pregame show via the NBC Sports’ Live Extra Stream.
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Here are a few links to get you ready for the action:
Get your game notes: Sharks at Wild
Yeo: No comment on complaints Suter gets ‘all the minutes’ while ‘the rest suffer’
NHL on NBCSN: Wild hope to rise from ‘rock bottom’ against Sharks
With Thornton hurt, Sharks say slumping Marleau ‘has to find a way to produce’
It wasn’t always pretty, but it seemed like the Winnipeg Jets might squeeze out a standings point or two against the San Jose Sharks tonight, even with a threadbare defense.
That held true for much of Monday’s game, yet it was all for naught as Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored in the waning moments to give San Jose a 3-2 regulation win (and Winnipeg zero points for its troubles):
This marks the Sharks second win in five tries while the Jets have dropped three of their last four games.
As strong as Michael Hutchinson was in net at times on Monday, Winnipeg left the game empty-handed (and probably muttering a few choice words).
One situation to watch for San Jose is Tomas Hertl’s health. He took a wayward Logan Couture puck to the face while sitting on the bench and needed to leave for repairs.
To some, Nicklas Backstrom is basically the Swedish Joe Thornton, as he piles up assists while rarely scoring many goals.
Let’s hope he doesn’t ponder the same sort of celebrations that “Jumbo Joe” mentioned regarding Tomas Hertl’s four-goal night, however, as Backstrom showed he’s not a total slouch in the goals department tonight.
His first career regular-season hat trick powered the Washington Capitals’ 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Here’s video of Backstrom’s trio, which included two Alex Ovechkin assists:
Speaking of unusual events, the hat haul apparently included a Santa cap:
Apparently Backstrom’s scored a hat trick in his NHL career, just not in the regular season, as Mike Vogl of the team’s website notes that he collected one against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 2 of that tide-turning 2010 playoff series:
Troy Grosenick celebrated his 25th birthday in August and entered this season without much hope of being part of the San Jose Sharks’ opening game roster. Goaltenders Antti Niemi and Alex Stalock were locks to make the team and if it wasn’t for the fact that Stalock is out with a knee injury, Grosenick would still be working on his craft in the AHL.
Grosenick got a golden opportunity today though and he did everything in his power to show he can be an NHL goaltender, stopping all 45 shots he faced in a 2-0 victory over Carolina. He’s the first Sharks netminder to open his career with a shutout or 45 saves, per the NHL.
San Jose only managed 19 shots on goal, but Tomas Hertl’s fancy stickwork made that enough.
Joe Thornton collected the empty-netter to extend his point streak to six games.
The Sharks have now won two of their last three games to improve to 10-8-2 this season. Carolina has dropped three straight games to fall to 5-9-3.
After an ugly slump that saw him dropped to the fourth line, San Jose sophomore Tomas Hertl has responded with four points in his last four games and, on Tuesday, a promotion to the club’s No. 1 unit prior to tonight’s game in Florida.
“It was a message,” head coach Todd McLellan said of Hertl’s demotion, per CSN Bay Area. “But it was also to reset him and to restart him.”
Hertl, 20, has seven points through 16 games this season — a decent clip, but less than the 0.68 points-per-game he averaged during 37 contests in his rookie campaign (Hertl finished with 15 goals and 25 points in 37 games). There are heightened expectations for the former first-round pick but, according to McLellan, Hertl is still learning the ropes of the NHL — especially since his first year was cut short with a significant knee injury.
“We can’t get fooled or tricked into the fabulous start that he had,” McLellan said. “He settled in and played like a rookie last year, and he’s still at that stage. I’ve banged that drum 100 times now.
“I think Tomas is getting better as the games go on. You see him more involved.”