After watching a lot of irrelevant hockey this year, it really feels good to watch some meaningful hockey. It is tough writing for multiple teams! The Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks are a couple of playoff bound teams with something to prove. Both are trying to get over the proverbial hump and make some noise this playoff season.
I have to admit even as an interested party, this first period wasn't much to write home about. It was not high event hockey by any means and I would in fact consider it boring. That is part of the Wild's game though and the Sharks started to play right into it.
Luckily for the Sharks, they were able to come away from that first period with a goal. This time courtesy of Logan Couture.
Not many players can make that happen. It takes great hand eye coordination and some bravery to do it near the goal mouth like that too.
Seriously though, other than a couple of power plays in this period and a pad save from Devan Dubnyk, not a lot happened.
After the first frame, shots were 5 to 5 and the only way the game could go was up. The excitement ramped up and it was due to the large amount of power plays in the period. You'll never guess who scored. Mr. San Jose Shark himself, Patrick Marleau.
The power plays on both sides made the game exciting but what really impressed me was the poise of James Reimer. He has fit in seamlessly and is a definite x-factor for them come playoff time. He faced 17 shots through two periods and held the Wild scoreless.
Towards the end of the second period the Sharks pretty obviously took their foot off of the pedal. This has happened quite often over the course of the season and could bite them (no pun intended) come playoff time. As the period progressed, it was more of the same as the Wild continued to put pressure on the Sharks. That is what tends to happen when a team has talented forwards like Zach Parise.
Taking a look at the "fancy stats" at the beginning of the period you wouldn't believe the disparity between all of the lines. Players like Marleau were as low as 13%CF and Nick Spaling was close to a 66%CF. It is almost like we are in a bizarro world watching this game unfold.
As I see "score effects" taking place, I am reminded just how great this season has been for the Sharks:
Sharks are five minutes away from getting that franchise-record 28th road win. They've kept pace with the Wild.— Fear The Fin (@fearthefin) April 6, 2016
As I was starting to get lulled to sleep by the game, Mr. Shark, Patrick Marleau decided to wake me up. His late third period goal was enough to seal the game for the Sharks even though they weren't particularly dominant.
This is Patrick Marleau's first two-goal game since the second game of the season when he scored a pair against Anaheim.— Fear The Fin (@fearthefin) April 6, 2016
Couture quietly ended the evening with two points and 17 minutes of ice time. Similarly Brendan Dillon ended the night with two assists and 20 minutes of ice time.
I wish they were all this easy!