SAN JOSE, Calif. – After opening its four-game road trip Tuesday with a win, the Wild is sticking with the same lineup Thursday in San Jose.
And that includes the goalie.
Backup Alex Stalock will be back between the pipes against the Sharks after a 29-save effort in the 4-2 win over the Ducks in Anaheim.
“He’s earned it,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s never an easy decision when you’re playing your backup a little bit more than normal. But he’s earned this spot. His numbers indicate that he’s earned it. We need the wins, so we’re going to go with what we think gives us the best chance to win.”
This will be just Stalock’s second career game vs. the Sharks, whom he played for before joining the Wild.
That previous game was a 4-3 overtime win for the Wild on Dec.10, 2017.
“Obviously every time coming back here puts a smile on my face with a lot of the friendships I made when I was here,” Stalock said. “You look back starting back in Worcester and the friendships I built there, like, with Logan [Couture] being here now and kind of growing up through pro hockey with him. Obviously, he's wearing the ‘C’ over there now. Just looking back on stuff like that is fun to think about.”
Although it’s early November, Boudreau expects Thursday’s game to have a desperate vibe to it since both teams are coming off wins that ended losing streaks.
“Both teams need to advance, and both teams have come from losing a couple to finally winning a game and making them feel a little better,” Boudreau said. “I guarantee [Sharks coach Pete DeBoer’s] saying the same thing, ‘You gotta build off that. It can’t be a one-and-done or you don’t advance in the standings.’ From that point of view, I think it’s going to be a real competitive game.”
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Kevin Fiala
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Jordan Greenway
Ryan Donato-Luke Kunin-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Brad Hunt
4: Wins for the Wild during its previous six trips to San Jose.
6: Points for center Eric Staal during a five-game point streak.
5: Points for winger Mats Zuccarello during his four-game point streak.
3: Goals for Zuccarello in his past three games.
33: Points by Wild defensemen this season.
About the Sharks:
Like the Wild, the Sharks are off to a rough start this season. They’re 5-10-1 after starting 0-4 and snapped a five-game losing streak Tuesday with a 4-2 win over the Blackhawks. A silver lining for San Jose has been its penalty kill, which is tops in the NHL at 90.2 percent. Starter Martin Jones is 3-7-1 with a 3.38 goals-against average and .889 save percentage. Winger Evander Kane has a team-best nine goals, while center Tomas Hertl and defenseman Brent Burns pace the Sharks in points with 14.