The Minnesota Wild keep plugging away and are playing with a lot of confidence heading into San Jose on Thursday night. The Wild will look to make it five wins in their last six games with a victory over the Sharks. They’re coming on strong and have their eyes set on the playoffs in the Western Conference. Minnesota is a point behind the Jets and Canucks for a wildcard.
The Canucks failed to keep a 2-1 lead last night in the third against the Coyotes, so they stay within a point of them. The Canucks are dealing with injuries, while the Jets have been hot and cold this season. If the Wild can ride this wave of momentum deep into March, we likely see them playing hockey in mid-April.
Minnesota is coming off a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. Their only loss in five games has been against the Capitals by a score of 4-3. The Wild played well in that contest and outshot the Capitals, 40 to 30, but didn’t come out ahead on the scoreboard. Their meeting against the Sharks marks the first game of a three-game road trip.
They’ll head to Los Angeles for a clash with the Kings on Saturday night, and wrap up in Anaheim on Sunday. These are winnable games that the Wild can’t afford to pass up. As close as things are, the Wild have to seize the opportunity and get points against teams that aren’t going to be playing playoff hockey.
The Sharks, Kings, and Ducks are all below .500 despite San Jose playing better lately. They’re on a three-game winning streak going into this one, with their most recent win an impressive effort against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The see-saw season for the Maple Leafs continued in San Jose, with the Sharks able to take advantage of a down night for them. Give credit to the Sharks, though, as they’ve been clicking with Logan Couture back in the lineup.
I don’t want to talk badly about Patrick Marleau because he’s one of the more likeable players in the league, but it appears that they are playing better without him in San Jose. It was a confusing move by the Penguins to trade for Marleau. The Sharks are likely the winners of that deal. Prior to going on this three-game run, the Sharks were losers in five straight games. They’ve been rather streaky throughout the season. That’s led the Sharks to a record of 29-33-4 in 2019-20. Head below for our free Wild vs. Sharks pick.
Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks Betting Odds:
Wild vs. Sharks Prediction:
The Wild approached this season like they were going to be in the playoffs. They signed Mats Zuccarello to add some firepower to their offence. That’s not a team who didn’t expect to compete in the playoffs this season. Without the results adding up on the ice, the front office sent a message with the firing of Bruce Boudreau three weeks ago. They were playing alright at the moment, too, but I think more was expected and that’s what the message was. Boudreau is a good coach, though he wasn’t getting the most out of this group. That includes Zuccarello who hasn’t exactly lived up to his contract thus far.
Zuccarello has recorded 14 goals and 20 assists this season. That is well below what was expected from him. All will be forgiven if Zuccarello can get hot down the stretch, though. In any event, the Wild have been playing really well recently and look like a playoff team. They have scored 3.5 goals per game, while allowing 2.5 goals a game in their previous ten outings. Alex Stalock is coming off a standout performance against the Predators, as he stopped 37 of 38 shots. Note that the Wild have allowed 1 or less goals in three of their last four outings.
For a team that couldn’t win on the road earlier in the season, the Wild have found it much easier to put the puck in the back of the net on the road of late. Note that the Wild have won five straight games on the road, with an average of 4.8 goals a game during that nice stretch. The Wild also allowed 1.8 goals per game, so they have looked great on recent roadies. They haven’t had any success against the Sharks, though, with a record of 0-5 in their last five meetings. Having said that, I think the Sharks are going to have a letdown following their win over the Maple Leafs. The Wild are playing confident hockey and the momentum should carry over into San Jose on Thursday night. I’d consider a play on the Wild in this contest.