The Wild has fared well against most of its rivals in the West Division this season, but one club that it's been up and down against is the Sharks.
San Jose won consecutive games the last time these two teams met, and they'll reunite Friday at Xcel Energy Center for the first half of a weekend back-to-back.
"The NHL is a great, great league, and every team has the ability to beat anybody on any given night," coach Dean Evason said. "You have to play the same way. You're not going to play perfect hockey. But you have to play really good hockey to give yourselves an opportunity to have success. If we do that every night, and we do that tonight, we'll give ourselves a chance."
Cam Talbot will be back in net for the Wild, which won't make any lineup changes from the 5-2 win over Arizona on Wednesday afternoon.
Nick Bjugstad remains sidelined with an upper-body injury, but the winger skated Thursday, Evason said.
Goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen hasn't played since absorbing the most lopsided loss in franchise history, the 9-1 drubbing by the Blues last Friday in St. Louis. Evason said, "You never want anybody sitting out that long, for sure," and that the team would assess the starter for Saturday after Friday's game.
"We haven't changed anything with our approach because of what happened, because of what happened prior to that," Evason said. "Our approach is the exact same way is that we play the hockey game, our last hockey game, we evaluate our players, and we try to decide the best lineup and that includes the goaltenders, defense, forwards."
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Marcus Foligno
Kirill Kaprizov-Victor Rask-Mats Zuccarello
Kevin Fiala-Ryan Hartman-Marcus Johansson
Zach Parise-Nico Sturm-Nick Bonino
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Ian Cole
13: Wins for the Wild over its last 14 home games.
4: Points for winger Nick Bonino in his past four games.
99: Career assists for winger Kevin Fiala.
398: Career points for winger Zach Parise with the Wild.
2: Goals for Parise over his last three games.
About the Sharks:
San Jose is struggling, having dropped three in a row and four of its last five games. The Sharks most recently were swept by the Ducks, getting outscored 8-1 in two losses. Overall, San Jose is sixth in the West Division with 40 points. The Sharks are 10-10-2 on the road. They're also 10-4-4 in one-goal games this season.