If San Jose is going to end its losing streak, it'll once again have to come without Logan Couture.
Another leg injury will claim an undetermined amount of the forward's time, including Saturday night visit from the Minnesota Wild as the Sharks try to halt a 0-4-1 span.
In Wednesday's 4-3 overtime loss in Edmonton, Couture left with a lower-body injury and didn't return. It was his second game back from missing 23 games because of a fractured right fibula at the ankle, and upon returning to San Jose, a small arterial bleed was discovered in the right thigh. He underwent a procedure to close the bleeding artery, and he isn't expected to be out long term.
The Sharks (14-13-1) have struggled at times without him, going 11-13-1 since his leg injury with his biggest contribution being limited ice time in Tuesday's 4-2 defeat in Calgary.
Aside from losing his No. 2 point producer from a season ago against the Oilers, coach Peter DeBoer saw some promise that fortunes could shift.
"I was real happy with our effort, I thought we could have had two or three in the first, we came ready to play," DeBoer told the team's official website. "Their goalie was good and it was a good hockey game. But for us playing back-to-back and four (games) in six nights, I thought we gave a (heck) of an effort and probably deserved better. We had chances all night, they just weren't going in for us, but we knew if we stuck with it, eventually, we would get rewarded."
That reward was their first point on the skid, but they've been outscored 18-9 and are in danger of their first six-game losing streak since an 0-4-3 span in February 2013.
The Sharks have won the last five meetings in San Jose as part of a 6-1-1 overall span. Joe Pavelski had five points in three games against the Wild last season and has five goals and six assists in his last seven in the series.
Minnesota (14-7-6) has started a three-game road stretch with consecutive 2-1 overtime losses, first at Colorado followed by Friday's in Arizona. Scoring has been an issue with 1.75 goals per game over a 3-2-3 span, and it fell to 1 for 20 on the power play in the last seven games. Even so, the Wild saw promise in their four chances against Arizona.
"I thought the power play was very good tonight," Zach Parise said. "We just couldn't get one."
To some extent, the limited scoring has been a product of the type of conservative games the Wild have been involved in. They've given up four goals in their last four contests while limiting opponents to 22.3 shots per game.
The Wild are without goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who has practiced since sustaining a lower-body injury in Saturday's home game against Colorado but didn't join them on the trip to Arizona. Seldom-used backup Darcy Kuemper has played the last two games to fall to 1-0-4 with a 2.80 goals-against average and .906 save percentage for the season.
Martin Jones will start for San Jose hoping to improve on a 1-4-1 span with a 3.33 GAA and .871 save percentage. He's 1-0-0 with a .974 save percentage in two games against the Wild, including a shutout on Nov. 26, 2014.
San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic practiced Friday and figures to return after missing three game with a lower-body injury.