By MATT BECKER,STATS Senior Writer
When San Jose and Minnesota last met, the Sharks were in the midst of a rough stretch while the Wild were rolling.
These teams are once again heading in opposite directions, this time with San Jose surging and Minnesota sputtering.
The Sharks look to win their fifth straight game Tuesday night when they visit a Wild team trying to avoid losing its fourth in a row.
San Jose (23-11-4) is atop the Pacific Division with 50 points, thanks to an NHL-best 8-1-1 surge since Dec. 15. Prior to this run, the Sharks had lost seven of nine (2-5-2), which included a 2-1 home setback to Minnesota on Dec. 6.
Mikko Koivu had Pierre-Marc Bouchard each scored first-period goals for the Wild in that game, while Matt Hackett recorded 34 saves to win in his NHL debut.
That marked the Wild's fifth consecutive victory and they would eventually extend that streak to seven and open up a five-point advantage atop the Western Conference with a win over Phoenix on Dec. 1...