The Minnesota Wild are riding high after winning three straight games on the road during a season when road victories are few and far between. Their three-game trip made history; it was the first time they beat the Islanders, Devils and Rangers in the same road trip.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau seemed pretty happy with that the other night. His team is back home to face the San Jose Sharks (33-21-8) on Sunday. Taking care of business at home this season hasn’t been a problem for the Minnesota this year.
The other Wild news of the day is Chris Stewart being placed on waivers. The absence of his veteran presence would certainly be felt in the dressing room.
The third-place Wild (34-20-7) will face the Sharks for the second time this season after winning the first game 4-3 in overtime on the west coast in early December. Nino Niederreiter scored the game-winner, while Eric Staal scored a pair and an assist. Alex Stalock made 31 saves in that game. Former Wild defenseman Brent Burns scored two of his 10 goals this season that night.
Minnesota has won four consecutive contests against the Sharks and hold a 9-1-1 record in the last 11 visits San Jose has made to St. Paul. With Burns on the roster, San Jose is fourth in the league with 145 points from defensive players. The Wild are right there, too, with 147 points ranking second in the NHL.
Matt Dumba has already matched his career-high in points with 34 this season. He has three helpers in the past three games. His 10 goals this season are tied for seventh among NHL defensemen. Another goal would tie his career-high of 11 goals.
Mikael Granlund hopes to keep his offensive play going after his four-point game at Madison Square Garden. He has 29 points in 30 home games this season and is second in team points with 49 (17-32—49). Granlund played well the other night and was on his A game with his shot. He also found himself in the right place at the right time for those two tallies against the Rangers. He’ll turn 26 years old on Monday.
The Sharks come in on a modest two-game skid where they’ve been outscored 10-2 against Nashville and Chicago. They finish their road trip in St. Paul. 2003 Wild draft pick Burns is the leader in assists with 41 and points with 51. Logan Couture is the team’s top goal scorer with 25.
They have the best penalty kill in the NHL at 84 percent allowing just 29 goals. The Wild’s penalty kill on home ice is second in the league, allowing just 12 goals on 95 attempts.
The Wild are 6-3-4 against Pacific Division teams this season.
Jonas Brodin (surgery on left hand), 8 games
Total man games lost: 110
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