San Jose at Minnesota

Venue: Xcel Energy Center

A brief rest may have done some good for both the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild. Each team's coach is hoping that's the case.

San Jose looks to end its four-game trip on a positive note Sunday night by avoiding a sixth straight road loss to Minnesota as both clubs play their third game in four days.

The Sharks (19-5-5) snapped a six-game winning streak with a 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday, then allowed four third-period goals in Friday's 5-3 defeat at Carolina.

Joe Thornton extended his point streak to eight games with an assist on Marc-Edouard Vlasic's goal in the first.

"I don't see an energized team right now," coach Todd McLellan said. "I see us chasing and the other team dictating the pace of the game. I see us making sloppy plays, sloppy passes - even missing assignments that are defensive assignments that we should be able to do in our sleep right now.

"That could be lazy or that could be fatigue. We have to figure that part out. We need to regroup, to get some rest."

Minnesota coach Mike Yeo is hoping his club can do the same.

The Wild (17-9-5) earned an emotional 4-3 win over defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago on Thursday, scoring twice in the final six minutes, but they seemed listless the following night while getting outshot 41-20 in a 4-0 loss at Columbus.

"We played right into (being tired), turning pucks over," Yeo said. "We were on our heels, slow reacting, slow getting to places. We were not pressing the way we needed to be."

Whether or not fatigue was a factor after blowing a two-goal lead and rallying to beat the Blackhawks, the Wild don't want to make any excuses.

"It's frustrating. We didn't play our game at all," defenseman Keith Ballard said. "We were OK in the first and went straight down from there."

Zach Parise scored against Chicago, but that's his only goal to go along with one assist over his last six games.

"We were just flat and not crisp," Parise said. "We were pretty brutal through the neutral zone and couldn't get anything generated."

San Jose won the final two meetings with the Wild last season on its home ice, including a 6-1 victory April 18 as Logan Couture had two goals and two assists.

Parise scored in the first matchup, a 2-0 win at home March 23. San Jose hasn't won a road game against Minnesota since April 2, 2010, and McLellan hopes his team can find the jump in its step to end that streak.

"(There are) some concerns about the group right now," McLellan said. "I don't know if we're playing with the energy we played with earlier in the year, and I don't know why that is."

Antti Niemi should be back in net after backup Alex Stalock made 30 saves against the Hurricanes. Niemi, 6-1-0 with a 2.35 goals-against average over his last seven starts, is 6-2-1 with a 1.89 GAA in nine outings against the Wild.

Niklas Backstrom made 37 saves against Columbus, and he could be back in goal for this contest despite going 0-3-0 with a 2.68 GAA over his last three starts. He's 2-5-0 with a 3.30 GAA in his last seven against the Sharks.

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Team Standings W L OT Pts L 10
San Jose4th Pacific 23136526-2-2
Minnesota5th Central 24175536-2-2

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