The San Jose Sharks extended their losing streak to four games, tied for their longest of the season, with a 3-2 loss to the Wild in Minnesota on Tuesday night.
Gloves dropped and fists flew early, as Micheal Haley and Chris Stewart fought just over two minutes into the game. The bout did not do much to spark San Jose, as Minnesota controlled play for the duration of the first period and held a distinct advantage in shots (11-4) and even strength attempts (19-11)
The Wild got on the board first, thanks to Matt Dumba’s power play goal with 10:29 left in the period. Joel Ward hooked Zach Parise, and Parise made Ward and the Sharks pay when he set up Dumba’s goal on the ensuing power play.
The Sharks improved in the second period, out-attempting the Wild 20-10 at even strength en route to a slight advantage in even strength puck possession after 40 minutes. For much of the middle frame, the Wild held tightly to a 1-0 lead.
San Jose broke through with 2:03 remaining before the second intermission. David Schlemko’s point shot deflected off of Marco Scandella and past Dubnyk to briefly tie the game.
Then, in the period’s final two minutes, the floodgates opened. In a span of three shifts and 30 seconds, the Wild and Sharks scored three goals. Ultimately, the score at the end of the second period was in the same state as the end of the first, as Minnesota held a one-goal lead.
Martin Hanzal and Charlie Coyle each picked up their 17th goals of the season, giving Minnesota a 3-1 lead for all of 15 seconds. Patrick Marleau cut the lead to 3-2, capitalizing off of a Dubnyk turnover behind the goaltender’s net with a minute left in the period.
The game’s pace slowed to a near-halt for much of the third period. Both Bruce Boudreau and Peter DeBoer shortened their benches, and the Sharks pushed for an equalizer in the final seven minutes of regulation.
Dubnyk shouldered away Joe Thornton’s quick wrist shot from the left wing, Joel Ward’s turnaround shot at the edge of his crease, and stood tall as the Sharks pulled Martin Jones in the game’s final minute.
San Jose could not find the tying goal, and Minnesota held on for the win to snap its five-game losing streak. The Sharks now sit eight points out of first place in the Western Conference, but still hold a four-point lead in the Pacific over Edmonton (who has a game in hand).
Fear the Fin’s Three Stars
- Zach Parise
- Nino Niederreiter
- Matt Dumba
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic (flu) and Jannik Hansen (upper-body) did not play tonight.
- Much like the game in Dallas last night, the Sharks struggled at times in the first period, only to find their footing in the second. They were unable to turn that into a dominant edge in puck possession, but managed to play the Wild evenly the rest of the game.
- Brent Burns has now not scored a goal in his last 14 games, and has not picked up a point in 7. I plan to dive deeper into his cold streak later this week, but it’s fair to say this is not an ideal time for Burns to struggle.
- Jake and I will have additional analysis on the game in a podcast at 8:30 PM PST. Fret not if you miss it, as you’ll be able to catch up with the podcast posting on iTunes shortly after.