Fresh off a 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on Sunday night, the San Jose Sharks sought to make it five straight wins over an injured Wild squad.
The first period was Wild-owned for the most part, but the Sharks started clicking near the midway point of the second period. A fantastic pass by Lukas Radil to Logan Couture gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead, then not 20 seconds later another great pass. This time Tomas Hertl found the stick of Joe Pavelski to increase the lead to 2-0. In the third, more great passing found Logan Couture for his second goal of the night, and pushed the lead up to 3-0.
See where I’m going here?
After some fantastic saves from Martin Jones, Radil cashed in his second goal of the season on an empty net to secure the 4-0 win and a five-game winning streak. Jones claimed the shutout, his first in 28 starts.
The San Jose Sharks (18-11-5, 3rd Pacific) are starting to come together as they prepare for the back end of their two-game swing through the Midwest. For the Sharks, they’ll need to be prepared for a banged up Minnesota Wild (17-13-2, 4th Central) with something to prove. If San Jose continues to play like it has over the most recent stretch of games, that shouldn’t be a problem.
From the Sharks point of view, it’s the don’t mess with success formula. Lukas Radil has helped breathe new life into that fourth line, so he gets the nod tonight. Radim Simek hasn’t looked horrible playing that sixth d-man role so he’s in the lineup as well.
The only thing that may have Sharks fans scratching their heads is the return of Martin Jones in net. Aaron Dell was perfect in Chicago, but he’ll sit tonight. Bench boss Pete DeBoer is going to give Jones a chance to redeem himself, which is what you do for your number one goalie.
As for the Wild, Nate Prosser is in for the injured Matt Dumba. NHL.com expects the Wild lineup to look something like this:
Jordan Greenway - Eric Staal - Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise - Charlie Coyle - Nino Niederreiter
Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno - Joel Eriksson Ek - Eric Fehr
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin - Greg Pateryn
Nick Seeler - Nate Prosser
Note former Sharks Fehr and Stalock will be across the bench tonight. Stalock is expected to play backup to Dubnyk tonight since Dubnyk was first off the ice this morning.
Where to Watch
If you’re at home, the game will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and streamed online at NHL.tv. If you’re driving home at the 5:00 p.m. PT start, tune into KFOX. If you don’t have access to either, join us here on Fear the Fin. We’ll be blogging along with game and feeling the pain/elation right along with you.
What’s going on, FTF readers? Bryan Del Fava coming at you live from the confines of my room in South San Jose, ready to get this game underway! I just got accepted into ASU, so I’m feelin’ great at the moment- let’s hope this mood continues throughout the night!
20:00- DROP THE PUCK!
18:45- Wild keeping it in the Sharks in their own zone really well.
17:08- Eric Fehr sighting!
15:57- Every now and then I think about how weird it is that Charlie Coyle wears #3.
15:03- Brent Burns got lucky there- Eric Staal almost had a goal, but Jonesy was able to get a stick on it.
13:16- Vlasic with a shot from the left face-off circle and Dubnyk easily stops it. Am I the only one who thinks that the Wild’s “DUUUUUUB” chants should be saved for big stops?
Highlight reel of Burnzie lighting up the Kings. Now that’s what I like to see.
11:16- Nice play from... checks notes Justin Braun to break up a Jason Zucker chance.
10:06- I’ve just noticed somebody wearing a Zenon Konopka jersey in the crowd. I have but one question... why?
7:28- The Karlsson Connection! Unfortunately stopped by Dubnyk.
4:24- Jamie’s right- this fourth line has been a lot of fun to watch, to me at least.
1:00- Last minute of play for the first.
Dillon holds the puck and that’ll be the end of the first period.
End 1st- Sharks 0, Wild 0
No goals conceded by Jones yet, so that’s good. Things have been swinging in the Wild’s direction, though.
20:00- Second period is a go!
19:26- VERY late offside call.
17:34- Martin Jones with a great stop on Joel Eriksson-Ek, and now we’ve got some extracurriculars!
14:55- Greg Pateryn and, get this, TIMO MEIER drop the gloves!
13:23- Lukas Radil and Barclay Goodrow with a great setup, but the Wild defense denies it.
10:11- SHAAAAAARKS GOAL! What a pass, and I mean WHAT A PASS by Lukas Radil straight to Logan Couture in front of the net! Sharks lead 1-0!!
9:42- AND THEY SCORE AGAIN! It’s the Big Pavelski!! What a lead pass from Tomas Hertl to a streaking Pavelski to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead!
3:41- Sharks doing a good job of entering the Wild zone cleanly.
2:28- Lucky bounce there but Jones keeps it out with his skate.
1:25- Erik Karlsson rings the post. Man!
1:14- First power play of the night! Mikko Koivu is sent off for tripping.
:47.1- Karlsson to Burns aaaaand stopped by Dubnyk.
End 2nd- Sharks 2, Wild 0
Just when I was going to say it’d be anyone’s game at the end of the first period, the Sharks quickly get a two-goal advantage to head to the locker room with.
Things looking good for the Sharks in the Pacific division race: the Ducks lost to the Rangers, 3-1, and the Stars are currently beating the Flames, 1-0.
20:00- Third period is a go!
19:09- SHAAAAAAARKS GOAL! It’s Couture again! Wonderful passing from Erik Karlsson to Tomas Hertl to Couture who slams it home! 3-0 Sharks!
16:30- Timo with a great chance, but he gets his stick lifted at the final second.
15:47- MARTIN JONES WITH A FANTASTIC SAVE! More of those consistently, please!
12:16- “The time is nigh.” -Jamie Baker
11:33- Goodrow tries to put it high right but Dubnyk denies him.
7:31- Simek continues to impress me. I just wish it didn’t come at the expense of Joakim Ryan.
5:59- Sharks force an offside. Smart play.
5:56- It’s so weird. Guys who never really impressed me on the Barracuda, like Simek and Radil, have seriously impressed me with the Sharks.
4:54- Somebody call the cops; Jones just robbed Mikko Koivu!
2:15- SHAAAAAAARKS GOAL! If this game wasn’t over already, it sure is now! Lukas “Real Deal” Radil puts it into an empty Minnesota net for the dagger!
0:00- SHAAAAARKS WIN!!!!
FINAL- Sharks 4, Wild 0
Martin Jones gets the shutout! His first in 28 games! We’re on a five-game winning streak! Let’s celebrate, baby!
I’m Bryan Del Fava, signing off! Y’all have a great night!