SAN JOSE, Calif. – The break is over, and the Wild is back in action – beginning a four-game road trip Monday night at San Jose.
Before a three-day layoff, the team had won three in a row despite looking fatigued and in need of some time to recharge.
"It's not a secret that before we weren't playing our best hockey," coach Dean Evason said. "We were getting some success, but we've got to get back to playing Minnesota Wild hockey and that's pressure hockey. It's playing the game with pace. It's playing the game physically, energized, and playing ultimately as a team. Not that we ever didn't do that even when we didn't have our best stuff, but we're looking forward to seeing how the group responds here going forward."
Cam Talbot will be in net for his fourth straight start, the most starts he's made consecutively this season. Talbot is 5-1 over his last six starts, boasting a 1.50 goals-against average, .954 save percentage and two shutouts in that span.
Elsewhere in the Wild lineup Luke Johnson will draw in at center on the fourth line, with Nick Bonino getting promoted to the third line alongside Jordan Greenway and Joel Eriksson Ek. Bonino, a center, will play right wing.
"We think he deserves an opportunity," Evason said of Bonino. "He played real well last game. Clearly, he's going to kill penalties and take faceoffs, key faceoffs, do what he does. But we had a good chat with him about playing wing, and I know for a fact just being with the Nashville organization that he played wing."
Kirill Kaprizov-Victor Rask-Mats Zuccarello
Kevin Fiala-Ryan Hartman-Marcus Johansson
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Nick Bonino
Nico Sturm-Luke Johnson-Nick Bjugstad
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Ian Cole
6: Wins by the Wild over its last nine trips to San Jose.
2-1: Showing by the Wild this season vs. San Jose.
16: Points for winger Mats Zuccarello in 17 career games against the Sharks.
5-4-1: Record for the Wild in its past 10 road contests.
8: Points for rookie Kirill Kaprizov in his past nine games.
About the Sharks:
San Jose is seventh in the West Division, ranking two points ahead of last-place Anaheim. The Sharks are coming off back-to-back losses in Arizona, getting outscored 9-2 in those games. Overall, they're 4-5-1 over their last 10 games. Goalie Martin Jones will be in net Monday against the Wild. He's 3-1-1 over his last five starts.