(Sports Network) - A potential first-round playoff matchup is scheduled for
Thursday evening in San Jose, as the Sharks welcome the Minnesota Wild for a
Western Conference showdown at HP Pavilion.
With 53 points, the Sharks are tied with Los Angeles for the fourth seed in
the West and Minnesota is just two points behind in sixth place. The Kings
also are in action on Thursday, as they are set to host the Columbus Blue
Both the Wild and Sharks will be after their third consecutive wins on
Thursday and Minnesota will also be trying to complete a perfect three-game
The Wild had lost three straight and six of seven before opening this swing
with Monday's 4-3 victory at Calgary. Minnesota then followed that win with a
5-3 decision in Edmonton on Tuesday.
Kyle Brodziak scored twice and Niklas Backstrom needed to make just 16 saves
to lead the Wild in Tuesday's triumph at Rexall Place. Zach Parise, Charlie
Coyle and Mikael Granlund also scored for the Wild against the Oilers.
"Our guys played a great game," Backstrom said.
The consecutive away wins improved the Wild's road record this season to
11-10-1. Minnesota has lost 10 of its past 12 games in San Jose.
Minnesota is one point ahead of St. Louis in the West standings and four
points behind Vancouver for first place in the Northwest Division. The Blues
are hosting Phoenix on Tuesday, while Vancouver will play in Dallas.
The Sharks, who are 10-2-1 over their last 13 games, are coming off
consecutive wins against Phoenix and Los Angeles. The most recent victory was
Tuesday's 3-2 shootout win over the visiting Kings.
Raffi Torres potted the only goal of the shootout to lift the Sharks past the
Kings. After the first four shooters came up empty, Torres skated in and
slipped a backhander through the five-hole of Jonathan Quick to put the Sharks
"I've got to start shooting more, I still have a lot more I can bring to the
table," said Torres. "Once I get my confidence, once I get a few goals, I can
get them in bunches."
Brent Burns registered a goal and an assist, while TJ Galiardi netted the
other regulation goal for the Sharks. San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi stopped
41 shots through regulation and overtime before turning away all three
shooters in the shootout.
Tuesday's test was the first of four straight on home ice for the Sharks, who
have a superb 15-1-5 record as the host this season.
The Wild and Sharks have split a pair of meetings this season, with each club
winning on home ice. San Jose has won four of the last five meetings in this
series, but the teams have split the last eight encounters.
The Sports Network