San Jose (42-23-7) at Minnesota (43-22-6)
When: Tuesday, March 21st 2017
Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, MN
Time: 8:35 ET | TV: NBC Sports Network
The Minnesota Wild will try and break out of a big slump when they host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night at Excel Energy Center. The Wild had as much as a nine-point lead in the Central Division and that has now turned into a nine-point hole behind the Chicago Blackhawks as Minnesota has lost eight of their ten March games. Unlike his team, Eric Staal has fared well in March with seven goals and an assist and has dominated against San Jose throughout his career – and this season has been no exception. The veteran scored two goals and set up another in a 5-4 win over the Sharks on January 5th and scored twice more in a 3-1 victory on March 5th to improve Minnesota to 8-1-1 in its last 10 meetings with San Jose at Xcel Energy Center. Devan Dubnyk was well on his way to being considered for the Vezina Trophy, but his performance of late isn’t helping his case. The 30-year-old holds a 1-7-0 mark with a 3.52 goals-against average and .875 save percentage this month and has been vying for his career-best 37th victory for five games now. Defenseman Matt Dumba, who had an assist versus San Jose earlier this month, has picked up his offensive production by scoring two goals and setting up three others in his last seven games.
San Jose, which is clinging to a four-point lead in the Pacific Division, was shut out for the fifth time this season on Monday as it began its four-game road trip with a 1-0 setback in Dallas. The Sharks have now lost three in a row and have only mustered two goals in that span. Goaltender Martin Jones has split his last eight decisions (4-3-1) despite allowing two goals or fewer in each of them, but he hasn’t performed as well in his two meetings with Minnesota – surrendering seven goals on 53 shots for an .868 save percentage. Defenseman Brent Burns has been held off the scoresheet in six straight games and eight of his last nine, beginning with the most recent meeting with the Wild – the team that selected him in the first round of the 2003 draft. Burns, who leads the team in both assists (43) and points (70), set up a pair of goals in the first matchup with Minnesota. The Sharks have been playing from behind recently, surrendering the first goal in each of their last four games.
Both teams are reeling right now, but Minnesota has been terrific against the Sharks at home and have won 18 of their last 26 there overall. The Sharks are struggling to score goals and they played last night. They’re 7-6 in the second of a back-to-back. I’ll take the Wild tonight.
Pick: Wild -140
HEAD TO HEAD
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