9:30 p.m. at • SAP Center • FSN, 100.3-FM
Preview: The Wild, off since New Year’s Eve after suffering its first defeat since a shootout loss in Calgary on Dec. 2, is looking to avoid its first losing streak in a month and only its second regulation losing streak of the season. This is the first of a three-game California swing; the Wild, winners of six consecutive on the road and 7-1-3 in its past 11 on the road, has yet to face the Sharks, last year’s Stanley Cup finalist from the West, and the Ducks, Bruce Boudreau’s previous team. The Sharks, 13-4-1 at home, lead the Pacific and are 8-2-1 in their past 11. This is a battle of the two best defensive teams in the West.
Players to watch: Wild RW Mikael Granlund has four two-point games in his past five and a team-leading eight. D Jared Spurgeon has three goals and two assists in the past five games. C Mikko Koivu has 18 points in the past 19 games. G Devan Dubnyk is 5-8-2 with a 3.07 goals-against average and .908 save percentage all-time vs. the Sharks. Sharks D Brent Burns leads all NHL defensemen with 15 goals and is tied for first with 35 points. C Joe Pavelski is tied for 15th in the NHL with 34 points and has 14 goals and 32 points in 28 games vs. the Wild. C Joe Thornton has 39 points in 41 games vs. the Wild.
Numbers: The Wild is 3-13-2 in its past 18 games in San Jose. The Wild’s power play is 2-for-18 (11.1 percent) in its past 10 visits (1.8 power plays per game). The Sharks’ power play is 17-for-51 (33.3 percent) in the past 13 home games vs. Minnesota (3.9 power plays per game).
Injuries: Sharks C Tomas Hertl (knee) and D Marc-Edouard Vlasic (upper body) are out; D David Schlemko (upper body) is questionable.