Sharks Heavy Favs

San Jose, CA - A two-game goal flurry has helped the San Jose Sharks remain hot.

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They haven't needed too much production on offense to dominate the Minnesota Wild in recent years.

The Western Conference-leading Sharks look to remain perfect at home and defeat the Wild for the eighth consecutive time when the teams meet Tuesday night.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made San Jose -201 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 goals (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 91% of bets for this game have been placed on San Jose -201 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

San Jose (10-2-0), which has won four straight overall, has scored nine goals in its last two games after being held to three or fewer in each of its previous three contests.

This matchup opens a three-game homestand for San Jose, which has averaged 3.8 goals while winning all six of its games at HP Pavilion this season.

The Sharks, though, have won seven straight against Minnesota (7-2-1) mostly due to dominant defense, outscoring the Wild 20-10 in regulation. They haven't lost to the Wild since a 4-1 defeat at home on Oct. 21, 2006.

Minnesota is tied with Calgary atop the Northwest Division, but faces a tall order against a San Jose team coming off one of its best offensive efforts of the season. The Sharks got two goals each from Devin Setoguchi and Milan Michalek in a 5-3 victory at Colorado on Sunday night.

"Everyone is putting up points," said Setoguchi, one of five San Jose players with at least 10 points. "Every line, when they can contribute like that, it's tough for other teams to match lines. It's pretty effective for our team."

Setoguchi, the eighth overall pick in the 2005 draft, has seven goals in 12 games after scoring 11 in 44 contests as a rookie last season. The 21-year-old winger, though, has been held off the scoresheet in three career games against the Wild.

Despite its history in this series, Minnesota is a threat to slow down Setoguchi and the Sharks. The Wild improved to 4-1-0 on the road with a 3-2 win over Phoenix on Saturday night to open a four-game trip.

Minnesota, already without Marian Gaborik and Owen Nolan due to lower-body injuries, lost defenseman Brent Burns minutes before Saturday's game to an upper-body injury sustained in warmups. Tomas Mojzis, originally on the list of scratches, dressed and left in the second period with an upper-body injury.

Nolan, Burns, and Mojzis are all listed as day-to-day. Gaborik is on injured reserve and has missed eight straight games.

As the injuries continue to mount, the Wild have asked Eric Belanger to play a number of roles. On Saturday, the center scored with 9:25 left to lift Minnesota over the Coyotes.

"I feel good out there and I'm playing with a lot of confidence," Belanger said. "My legs feel great. I'm playing in every situation, and as a player you can't ask for any more."

Mikko Koivu also scored after being held off the scoresheet in the two previous games. The fourth-year center leads the Wild with 14 points (two goals, 12 assists).

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Posted: 11/04/08 12:57 AM

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