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2:00 PM PT3:00 PM MT4:00 PM CT5:00 PM ET22:00 GMT6:00 3:00 PM MST5:00 PM EST2:00 UAE (+1)17:00 ET20:00 BRT, February 15, 2020
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota  Attendance: 18,611

Evason set for Wild coaching debut against Sharks

San Jose Sharks at Minnesota Wild

  1. The Sharks have won each of the last four games against the Wild following a stretch of six straight wins by the Wild previously. The Sharks won the first matchup of the season, 6-5 on November 7, led by a season-high four points by Logan Couture.
  2. The Wild own the second-best power-play percentage since January 1 at 34.0 percent after ranking 20th from October-December at 17.8 percent. The Wild have the third-largest difference in power-play percentage at home versus on the road with a difference of 12.9 (28.4% at home, 15.5% on road).
  3. The Wild were up 3-1 entering the third period against the Rangers on Thursday but were outscored 2-0 in the third before losing in a shootout. The Wild have allowed 66 goals in the third frame, tied for fourth most in the NHL, but the Sharks have only scored 41, second fewest in the league (Ducks, 37).
  4. Eric Staal has 24 points in 23 career games against San Jose, his third-best points-per-game average against any opponent in his career (1.04). He had three points in Minnesota's 6-5 loss to the Sharks on November 7, his first loss with at least three points since December 6, 2011 at Calgary.
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Dean Evason will make his NHL head-coaching debut when the Minnesota Wild play host to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

Evason was named the Wild's interim coach Friday after Bruce Boudreau was fired. The Wild (27-23-7) are three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with 25 regular-season games remaining.

The Wild took a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday after blowing a two-goal lead in the third period.

"It's not just one win, it's not just one loss," first-year Minnesota general manager Bill Guerin said. "It's not one week. It's a series of things. In a decision like this, it's never just one thing. I just felt like the timing was right. ... I just feel like the timing is right to do it now. That's just the way I felt.

"The record the last 10 (7-3-0 entering Thursday) has been pretty good. There's just some things I feel need to be better. ... Like I said, not one thing, but (Thursday) night was a game we should've won."

Boudreau was 158-110-35 in four seasons as Wild coach.

Evason, 55, was in his second season as a Minnesota assistant after coaching the Nashville Predators' AHL affiliate in Milwaukee for six seasons, going 242-161-53. He was an assistant with the Washington Capitals from 2005-12 and worked on Boudreau's staff there from 2007-12.

"You have to be who you are and you have to do what you believe in when you get these opportunities," Evason said. "We want the group to be accountable and aggressive. If we make a few mistakes because we're aggressive, we can live with that, but not if we are passive. (Thursday) night as an example, we were too passive."

Players said they were surprised by Boudreau's firing.

"We didn't really expect that," defenseman Ryan Suter said. "The team had been playing well.

"We have a lot of respect for Bruce. He was a great guy and a great coach. It's sad to see him go. ... We were still responding to Bruce. At the same time, if Billy thinks other guys need to get going more, maybe a new voice will help certain things."

Guerin said Evason would coach the Wild for the remainder of the season.

"The one thing I really do like about Dean is his passion, his fire for the game," Guerin said. "I am hoping that that translates to the players. I think these guys really like Dean a lot."

The Sharks are coming off a 3-2 victory at Winnipeg on Friday night, as Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier scored in an 89-second span in the third period.

Marcus Sorensen also scored for the Sharks, who are 3-1-0 in their past seven games, with all three victories coming on the road. Aaron Dell made 30 saves and got some help from the goalpost on a shot by the Jets' Kyle Connor with 20 seconds remaining.

"Yeah, that was a nice bounce," Dell said.

Meier, who scored the winner off a rebound at 6:47 of the final period, has three goals and three assists in a four-game point streak.

"I was a little worried that (Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck) was going to get his stick on it, but luckily it went in, and I'll take those any day," said Meier, whose 19 goals rank second on the team behind Evander Kane's 21.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 15, 2020

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