Minnesota Wild (15-10-1) at San Jose Sharks (15-11-4), 10:30 p.m. (ET)

(SportsNetwork.com) – The Minnesota Wild will try to win consecutive games for
the first time in almost a month on Thursday night as they visit the San Jose
Sharks.

Though they have not put together a winning streak since taking four in a row
from Nov. 13-20, the Wild have won eight of their last 12 and rallied to beat
the New York Islanders 5-4 on Tuesday. Minnesota trailed 3-0 after the first
period and 4-1 later in the game.

Nino Niederreiter had the winning goal with 4:33 to play, while Mikko Koivu
and Thomas Vanek had a goal and an assist each. Jason Pominville and Erik
Haula tallied as well and Niklas Backstrom made 15 saves.

“We were able to collect ourselves and have much better focus in our game
after the first period,” said Wild head coach Mike Yeo. “We’ve got to stop
having these bad starts because it’s not always going to end this way.”

The Wild seemed to rally after defenseman Keith Ballard left the game
following a scary hit in the second period. He was checked into the mid-ice
boards by New York’s Matt Martin and remained on the ice for several minutes.

Ballard was eventually helped into the dressing room and taken to a local
hospital for further evaluation and no penalty was called on the play. The
blueliner was released from the hospital on Wednesday and is out indefinitely
after suffering multiple facial fractures and a concussion.

In addition to being without Ballard, defenseman Marco Scandella will begin a
two-game suspension tonight for an illegal check to the head on New York’s
Brock Nelson in the third period.

The Sharks also come in shorthanded, with both defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic
and forward Mike Brown exiting Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Edmonton.

Brown is expected to miss some time with a lower-body injury, while Vlasic is
questionable with an upper-body issue.

Joe Pavelski scored twice to help the Sharks split a home-and-home set with
the Oilers. Logan Couture had a goal and an assist while Brent Burns and
Barclay Goodrow also lit the lamp for the Sharks, who had a four-game win
streak halted with a 2-1 loss at Edmonton on Sunday.

“We were ready to play and got some quick goals. The crowd gets into it and
you feed off that,” said Pavelski.

Goodrow’s goal was the first of his NHL career and Melker Karlsson picked up
an assist in his NHL debut.

Alex Stalock stopped 25 shots in the win. He got the late call over Antti
Niemi after Niemi was banged up during morning skate.

The Sharks have won four of their past six versus the Wild.