San Jose Sharks 2010: Sharks Head to Minnesota, Look to Stay Hot

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San Jose Sharks 2010: Sharks Head to Minnesota, Look to Stay Hot
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Tuesday November 2nd @ Xcel Energy Center.

San Jose: 5-3-1 (third in pacific)

Minnesota: 4-4-2 (third in northwest)

San Jose will look to make it three in a row as they hit the road for two games before returning to the bay this weekend. The Wild have lost three of their last four, and look to rebound from a 3-1 loss to the defending champion Chicago BlackHawks.

The Good:

The Sharks have been able to shake off their early-season woes and put together an impressive two-game winning streak. In beating the Devils and Ducks, the Sharks scored ten goals, while getting solid performance from their net minder, Antero Niittymaki.

Power Play: 31.8 percent, 1st in the NHL:

The power play has been instrumental this year for the Sharks. They scored two in their win against the Ducks, and have used the power play all year to capitalize on opponents. They will be going up against a team in the Wild that are right behind San Jose in the power play department. 

The Big Three are on Fire:

After only a few weeks into the season, San Jose's big three are already back at work producing. Joe Thornton has contributed on the last eight goals scored by the Sharks, and since being placed on the same line last Wednesday's game, the three combined have collected 20 points in the last two games alone. 

Niittymaki solid in net:

Although early in the season, fans were wanting to push the panic button on number-one goaltender Antti Niemi. Niemi allowed nine goals in the first two home games of the season, and was replaced by Niittymaki in the Oct. 21 game in Colorado.

Since then, Niittymaki has gone 4-0-1, with a 1.87 GAA. With the defense still attempting to short out their problems, Niittymaki has been able to keep pucks out of the net, and the Sharks in the win column.

The Bad:

The Sharks are still having trouble closing out games. In both the New Jersey game and the Ducks game, San Jose allowed some tense moments when the game should have really been done with.

This problem goes hand-in-hand with the mental mistake problem plaguing San Jose. The two goals scored by the Ducks were power play goals, as was the same case in the Devils game. Limiting mental mistakes and closing out games are still two areas that need to be worked on.

Prediction:

The Shark's offense is clicking, and Niittymaki has produced. If the Sharks can keep the mistakes to a minimum and continue to capitalize on the power play, they should be heading to St. Louis with a win.

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