For the second night in a row on the road, Marc-Edouard Vlasic led the Sharks to victory. After scoring the game-winner with five seconds left in regulation off a set faceoff play last night in Winnipeg, San Jose's top defenseman exchanged passes with Justin Braun in overtime before streaking down the left wing and firing a slapshot past an off-his-angle Darcy Kuemper to help the Sharks sweep a back-to-back for the first time all season.
Melker Karlsson also scored for the second time in as many games for the Sharks, actually stretching his goal-scoring streak to three games, while Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels added markers as San Jose completed a successful comeback after falling down 2-0 early on first period goals by the Wild's Jason Zucker and Jared Spurgeon. After Wingels cashing in a rebound put the Sharks up 3-2 partway through the third period, Zucker tallied again for Minnesota to send the game to overtime before Vlasic gave the Sharks their first win in St. Paul in over four years. The win also temporarily pulls the Sharks into second place in the Pacific ahead of their rematch with St. Louis on Thursday.
- Melker Karlsson rules. In addition to opening the scoring for the Sharks with his third goal in as many games and fourth in twelve with the big club this season, Karlsson's crafty stickwork in the offensive zone kept a ton of cycle shifts alive for the top line. He was just as important to that line's success tonight as Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski which is something I can't imagine many would have guessed before the season started.
- Oof, that power play though. San Jose managed the incredible feat of mustering zero shots on goal in eight minutes of five-on-four ice time, including on a late power play that could have won the game in regulation. The Sharks legitimately go from having a top-three NHL power play to a horrendous one when you remove Joe Thornton from the lineup.
- Alex Stalock's puckhandling likely brings with it more positives than negatives in the long run but the negatives do exist and that's something that I think gets forgotten when comparing any overly active puckhandling goaltender to someone like Antti Niemi. His indecision with the puck (as well as a blown icing call) cost the Sharks on Zucker's first goal and it seemed to affect Stalock for the rest of the game as he seemed a lot more tentative handling the puck than usual.
- It really shouldn't be a surprise that scratching Scott Hannan has improved the Sharks' blueline but that was another really good game for Matts Irwin and Tennyson on the third pairing. Neither player is the most fleet of foot but they can both move the puck in the right direction and create from the point once it's in the offensive zone. That's certainly more than can be said for Hannan.
FTF Three Stars
1st Star: Joe Pavelski
2nd Star: Jason Zucker
3rd Star: Marc-Edouard Vlasic