Series (Game 2 of 4)

Minnesota leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, November 10th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 6th
Game 3: Tuesday, January 10th
Game 4: Sunday, February 26th

Wild 2

(18-7-3, 39 pts)

Sharks 1

(14-9-1, 29 pts)

10:30 PM ET, December 6, 2011

SAP Center, San Jose, California

1 2 3 T
MIN 2 0 02
SJ 1 0 01

M. Hackett (Wild - G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: 1.000

M. Koivu (Wild - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

J. Pavelski (Sharks - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Wild-Sharks Preview


The Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks traded key players in separate deals during the offseason in hopes of improving their standing in the Western Conference.

So far, Minnesota seems to have gotten the better end of those deals.

The Wild seek their fifth straight victory as they continue their road trip Tuesday night in San Jose.

Minnesota (17-7-3) is off to its best start in the franchise's 11-year history, due in large part to the acquisitions of former Sharks Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi.

Heatley scored for the second straight game in the Wild's 5-3 win over Anaheim on Sunday, helping them to a fourth consecutive road victory. Minnesota can match its franchise-record road winning streak established March 8-17, 2007, with a win in this game.

Setoguchi and Heatley are among five players who share the team lead with eight goals for the Wild, who have overcome two-goal deficits in their last three victories to remain among the league leaders in wins.

"It's easy to say it, but we're kind of walking the walk a little bit," said Matt Cullen, who had three assists Sunday. "You preach: `Stay with it, stay confident, stay with the game plan and it's going to come.' We're finding a way to stick with it, stay positive on the bench and play our game. That's a huge key for us."

Minnesota will play the second of a five-game road trip at San Jose, which received Martin Havlat and Brent Burns in the offseason trades.

Havlat's lone goal came Nov. 5 versus Nashville, but he has an assist in each of the last two games, including Saturday's 5-3 loss to Florida.

Burns leads the team's defensemen with four goals, but he was part of a San Jose blue line unit that continuously turned over the puck against the Panthers. Coach Todd McLellan made his squad practice Sunday on the team's previously scheduled day off because of the subpar effort.

The Sharks (14-8-1) have lost three of four.

"We were very sloppy," McLellan said. "That's probably as poorly I've seen our six D play in four years altogether as a group with turnovers. Forwards didn't create much of a forecheck. It was a full team game."

Burns was the only of the four traded players to record a point in the first meeting, notching an assist in San Jose's 3-1 victory Nov. 10. Patrick Marleau, without a point in his last three games, scored twice on the power play in the win.

Antti Niemi made 21 saves in that contest, and he'll likely be back in net after backup Thomas Greiss took the loss to Florida.

Niemi is 4-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average lifetime versus Minnesota.

The Wild may have to counter with Josh Harding, as Niklas Backstrom is day to day with a groin strain suffered in Friday's win over New Jersey. Harding made 24 saves Sunday to improve to 7-2-1 with a 2.05 GAA on the season.

The Sharks have won three straight against Minnesota, five in a row at home over the Wild and eight of 10 overall between the teams.