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The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks 3/5/2017 @ 5:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (41-15-6)  88pts  2nd in the Central

3.32 Goals For Per Game (2nd in the NHL)

2.35 Goals Against Per Game (4th in the NHL)

22.1% Power Play (6th in the NHL)

84% Penalty Kill (7th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 21G 38A = 59pts

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 17G 31A = 48pts

3. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 20G 26A = 46pts

4. #12 Eric Staal ~ 17G 29A = 46pts

5. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 14G 30A = 44pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #79 Chris Stewart ~ 79 PIM’s

2. #21 Ryan White ~ 70 PIM’s

3. #24 Mathew Dumba ~ 47 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (34-12-3)  2.03GAA  .933%SP  5SO

2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (7-3-3)  3.22GAA  .905%SP

 

 

Vs.

 

 

San Jose Sharks (38-18-7)  83pts  1st in the Pacific

2.76 Goals For Per Game (13th in the NHL)

2.32 Goals Against Per Game (2nd in the NHL)

17.2% Power Play (22nd in the NHL)

81.3% Penalty Kill (14th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #88 Brent Burns ~ 27G 40A = 67pts

2. #8 Joe Pavelski ~ 21G 34A = 55pts

3. #39 Logan Couture ~ 21G 22A = 43pts

4. #19 Joe Thornton ~ 5G 35A = 40pts

5. #12 Patrick Marleau ~ 22G 15A = 37pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #38 Michael Haley ~ 76 PIM’s

2. #4 Brenden Dillon ~ 51 PIM’s

3. #19 Joe Thornton ~ 47 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #31 Martin Jones (30-15-6)  2.28GAA  .915%SP  2SO

2. #30 Aaron Dell (8-3-1)  1.88GAA  .935%SP  1SO

Lines:

San Jose Sharks

Lebanc~Thornton~Pavelski

Marleau~Couture~Boedker

Sorensen~Hertl~Ward

Haley~Tierney~M. Karlsson

Martin~Burns

Vlasic~Braun

Dillon~Schlemko

Jones

Dell

Minnesota Wild

Zucker~Koivu~Granlund

Haula~Hanzal~Coyle

Niederreiter~Staal~White

Stewart~Graovac~Schroeder

Suter~Spurgeon

Brodin~Dumba

Scandella~Prosser / Folin

Dubnyk

Kuemper

The San Jose Sharks surprised many people by making it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history.  Many experts felt their aging core led by stalwarts Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton were doomed to be also rans.  The Sharks have more or less controlled the Pacific Division most of the season and look to be a definite contender for the Stanley Cup once again.  Brent Burns leads the way and seems to be on his way to his 1st Norris Trophy, an honor he should’ve received last season as well.  Burns’ skill now matches is superb athleticism and is arguably the most complete defenseman in the league.

Offensively the rest of the Sharks are having a bit of a down year offensively, but they still have plenty firepower spread throughout their line up with Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture along with Burns and Thornton give San Jose good scoring depth.  Yet after that secondary scoring has been a bit more elusive.  Mikkel BoedkerTomas Hertl, Joel Ward and Joonas Donskoi are all struggling a bit but the potential is still there.  Rookie Kevin Lebanc has provided speed and does a good job of driving opponents crazy with his puck-hawking style.

The Wild are coming off a 1-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  It was a good defensive effort where the Wild did well against a potent Columbus offense.  The Wild offense had some good opportunities but Sergei Bobrovsky was a wall.  Minnesota’s challenge will be to light the lamp against Martin Jones who has had a solid another season for the Sharks.  Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker have arguably been the Wild’s two most dominant players and Minnesota will no doubt lean on them again this early evening.  Mikko Koivu has been a bit quiet offensively, as have Charlie Coyle and Eric Staal and Minnesota needs to get them back on track.

This will be a good test to see if the Wild’s additions Martin Hanzal and Ryan White help the Wild match up better against a ‘heavy team’ like the Sharks.  The Wild have another brutal week with 4 games in 6 days, where they finish up against Chicago who has managed to wrest the top spot in the Central division with Minnesota holding 3 games in hand.