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Minnesota Wild vs San Jose Sharks: Game 48

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Minnesota Wild (24-18-5) vs. San Jose Sharks (24-19-5)

HP Pavillion "The Shark Tank" @ 9:30 PM CST Television: FSN
Listen live on Wild.com

For the San Jose perspective, check out Fear The Fin

Minnesota Wild
San Jose Sharks

Andrew Brunette - Mikko Koivu - Antti Miettinen
Cal Clutterbuck - Kyle Brodziak - Martin Havlat
Eric Nystrom- Matt Cullen - Pierre-Marc Bouchard

Brad Staubitz - John Madden - Chuck Kobasew

Nick Schultz - Brent Burns
Jared Spurgeon - Kobe Bryant
Clayton Stoner
- Greg Zanon

Anton Khudobin
Niklas Backstrom

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Dany Heatley
Jamie McGinn - Logan Couture - Devin Setoguchi
Ryane Clowe
- Joe Pavelski - Jamal Mayers
Ben Eager - Torrey Mitchell -
Benn Ferriero

Dan Boyle - Douglas Murray
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Jason Demers
Kent Huskins -
Niclas Wallin

Antti NiemiAntero Niittymaki

Our usual lineup site is down. Please do not read much into the Sharks' lines.

The Wild have already beat the Sharks twice this year. They know it can be done, and the Sharks are nowhere near the ever dominant regular season team they have been in the past. Believe it or not, the Sharks are actually below the Wild in the standings, by one place. Any other year, that would be something to be proud of. However, the Sharks learned that going cheap with goaltending may work for some teams, but not for them.

Missing Nabby yet, Sharks fans?

The Wild come in having won three in a row, and playing well. Recent games against the Canucks, Avs, and Flames show that this team can play, and playing amazingly well. The team that has come out in these three games is dangerous, fast, solid defensively, feisty, and physical.

They have had a day off and a light practice since they last played. The rest is a good thing, and hopefully they come out rejuvenated, and not lazy. The Sharks are still a very dangerous team, and if the Wild play them as though they are a simple beat, they will get smoked. Joe Thornton is one of the best in the game, Patrick Marleau just passed 1000 games of making look silly, and Dany Heatley will simply run you over with his car.

The Sharks' goalies are beatable. Enough shots, and from the right place, and they are completely beatable. They are in San Jose because they are cheap, not because they are good. There is no reason to be intimidated by them, nor to give them too much respect. Shoot the puck, drive the net, win the game.

Keys to victory: Continue to play as they have been. Hard forecheck, solid defense, protect the goalie.

Five Questions:

  1. Out of action for a couple days, and in Cali, can the Wild come out hard and fast?
  2. Brent Burns is a man among boys. Can he dominate again?
  3. Backstrom looked phenomenal in his return, does that continue?
  4. Can the Wild shut down the Sharks' big three?
  5. Heater doesn't really need to drive anywhere. Does someone die, anyway?