We all knew this game would come down to goaltending, but to what extent? Well, it’s the second game in a row where Martin Jones has blown a massive lead in the score, forcing the Sharks to scrap by for a win in a game they were handily winning earlier.
That said, the Sharks looked incredible in the first period, racking up four goals, all at even strength, while keeping Minnesota off the board. The Wild pushed back in the second period, but the strategy of keeping the puck as far away from Jones as possible, still kept them comfortable with a 6-2 lead.
Then things went off the rails in the third. Jones allowed three goals, while the Sharks failed to extend or maintain their cushioned lead or take advantage of finally getting some power play time on their own end (including a five-minute major that ultimately saw Ryan Hartman ejected from the game).
The roster seems to be coming together, but they’re more lucky than anything that Jones’ .808 save percentage didn’t make all of their work for naught, and they still got by with a win. But that isn’t sustainable and the team in front covering for the goaltending game in and game out is going to keep the Sharks from building on the improvements they’ve made over the last two games.
This team is in a big enough hole as it is. If goaltending doesn’t change, that won’t, either.
Hey folks! I’m your host for this evening as the Sharks and Wild are set to face off. Let’s goooo.
19:13: Already starting with more energy than the Chicago game. Thank god.
19:08: Oh man, Logan Couture with a goal immediately. Loving that. Evander Kane gets the pucks behind the net, passes it up to Couture in the crease and into the net. 1-0, Sharks.
17:38: A matchup of the Sharks’ fourth line against the Matt Dumba/Jonas Brodin pairing is pretty rough. That’s gonna create some chances for Minnesota eventually.
16:46: Pete gets Burns and Simek out there and it’s back to the Sharks’ offensive zone.
16:14: Joe Thornton got knocked down along the boards, a few seconds later gets the puck to Patrick Marleau, who gets a shot on goal.
15:30: The Sharks have had a long look in the offensive zone. It’s looking busy. It’s obviously early, but if we could see this every night, they’d be unstoppable.
14:05: Timo Meier, you beautiful bastard. Erik Karlsson to Tomas Hertl, with a quick pass to Meier, who shoots from the high slot and beats Alex Stalock easily. Incredible. 2-0, Sharks.
12:52: Wild (heh) how the Sharks haven’t been great defensively this year and are still embarrassing the Wild in the defensive zone.
12:15: Kane with a breakaway, no dice.
11:38: Lean Bergmann with a couple of chances. Stalock is busy already.
9:40: The Wild are finally getting chances, after a long shift from the Sharks in the offensive zone.
9:18: Nevermind, back to the neutral zone because the Wild can’t hold their zone to save their lives.
8:18: Dylan Gambrell takes a hooking penalty, and the Wild go to the power play.
6:36: Not really comfortable with how well Minnesota was able to set up their power play.
6:18: Back to full-strength.
5:17: Carson Soucy with a shot and the Wild look like they’ve finally woken up after that power play.
3:21: Man, the Sharks are maintaining zone pressure like it’s 2016. Marcus Sorensen with a goal and it’s 3-0, Sharks.
1:28: HOLY SHIT. Motherfucking RADIM SIMEK JUST SCORED A GOAL FROM THE SLOT. Alex Stalock is retiring after this period.
:05.5: Jordan Greenway and Brent Burns are fully going at, just absolutely screaming at each other. Looks like both are being handed roughing penalties. Some 4-on-4 to end this and open next period.
END FIRST: Sharks 4, Wild 0
20:00: Folks, we’ve got a Devan Dubnyk in net. Still 4-on-4.
18:04: Back to 5-on-5. Sharks seemed to be leading play during the 4-on-4, but it ends with a shot on Jones.
17:33: The Wild’s top line getting some chances. They’re truly a one line team, this is the most the Sharks have been tested defensively so far.
15:11: The Sharks aren’t getting into the offensive zone as easily, but they get it in.
14:51: Sharks get the puck in the net but the whistle was blown right before. Huge scrum in front of the net. Mario Ferraro and Ryan Hartman going at each other. Tomas Hertl got knocked down, Timo Meier in the mix as well.
Oh man, Dumba pulled Meier’s hair. Ridiculous.
Official review, looks like they’re saying Hertl pushed Dubnyk’s pads? Doesn’t seem right.
Some penalties being handed out, looks like to Hartman and Meier for roughing. Back to 4-on-4.
13:17: Simek is so, so good, breaking up a breakaway chance with his stick.
12:35: Brenden Dillon takes a penalty for slashing. Wild to the power play.
11:12: Folks, I hate to admit, but Ryan Suter has still kinda got it.
10:35: Back to full strength.
9:09: [Ariana Grande voice] San Jose please score, yeah ‘cause I’m bored.
But really, the Wild aren’t going down without a fight, but they also aren’t stringing much together that’s terrible frightening or effective.
6:54: Timo Meier goes off for holding on Luke Kunin and the Sharks are on the kill yet again!
5:55: DYLAN GAMBRELL IS FIGHTING MATT DUMBA, THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
Both are getting five for fighting. Dumba had a nasty hit on Ferraro to kick the whole thing off and there’s no call on that.
4:09: Death, taxes, and Martin Jones spoiling his own shut out. Luke Kunin puts Minnesota on the board. Now 4-1, Sharks.
3:23: Sharks finally get a power play, after Erik Karlsson takes a pretty nasty stick to the face from Eric Staal.
2:56: Just like that, Hertl power makes it 5-1. Scoring must be always :))
2:01: Eric Staal with a goal after a redirect up high on his stick bounces and beats Jones. 5-2, Sharks.
1:01: Man, good set of passes in traffic, but Dubnyk makes a save on Burns.
:54.1: Greenway off for delay of game for putting the puck into the crowd and the Sharks have a power play.
:44.3: Kane with an immediate power play goal. 6-2, Sharks.
END SECOND: Sharks 6, Wild 2
17:54: Decent amount of back and forth so far, without stoppages in play. This third might go by fast.
16:57: Simek with another shot on Dubnyk. Dunno where this is coming from, but I will absolutely take it.
16:04: They’re mentioning that Ferraro isn’t on the bench right now. After that hit from Dumba, I’m hoping he’s alright.
15:12: Seriously cannot overstate how much better the Sharks are with their spacial awareness and connecting passes than they have been early this year.
13:21: Sorensen throw the puck into the zone where Marleau is skating to and would’ve had a breakaway opportunity and Marleau ... trips.
11:53: Brad Hunt beats Martin Jones five-hole after Jones made his way back from the trapezoid. Ugh. 6-3, Sharks.
10:39: Now it’s Ryan Donato top corner glove side on Jones with his first of the year. 6-4, Sharks. Woof.
10:05: Simek just saved Martin Jones’ out of position ass.
9:51: Ryan Hartman just fought Brent Burns after looking to have legitimately injured Evander Kane and is ... smiling in the penalty box. Jesus christ.
The major penalty is getting reviewed and Hartman takes five for the slash. Kane took a minor penalty, to be served by Noah Gregor. So 4-on-4 for two minutes, then three minutes of power play time for San Jose.
Now Hartman has been tossed from the game. Jason Zucker is serving for him, hich seems ... not smart?
9:17: Ahahahahahah, Wild get called for too many men. 4-on-3 for the Sharks, who also get to keep scoring because of the major penalty.
8:27: Dubnyk with a huge save on Couture after Jared Spurgeon breaks his stick, effectively giving them a 4-on-2.
6:07: I can’t believe how long this power play has been going, including a brief 5-on-3, and the Wild are effective in killing the penalty so far.
(Granted it does seem like Joel Eriksson Ek just keeps launching the puck as far and hard as possible).
4:44: Back to evens.
4:35: Holy shit. Mats Zuccarello just embarrasses Jones. It should not be this close. 6-5, Sharks.
Sharks call a time out.
2:42: The Wild are making it difficult for the Sharks to set up in the zone, which is mostly only effective because it takes the puck as far away from Jones as possible. The Wild don’t need to set up to score on him.
2:24: Zach Parise almost tied it and Jones was on his stomach, making a pad save. He got bailed out by Erik Karlsson literally pushing Parise out of the way, because Parise could’ve flipped the puck over Jones’ pad and he’d have no way to make that save while already down.
:52.1: Wild pull Dubnyk for a 6-on-5.
Lot going on for the Wild at the end there, but the horn finally sounds.
FINAL SCORE: Sharks 6, Wild 5
The San Jose Sharks should be skating onto the ice at SAP Center tonight with a little bit of a pep in their step after finally snapping a five-game losing streak, beating the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night. After a disappointing start to the season, it marks just the fifth win for the Sharks over the course of 16 games, thanks to a depleted forward corps, a defense that isn’t playing up to their standard and mediocre at best goaltending.
If anyone can relate, it’s the Minnesota Wild. A wild and crazy year of Paul Fenton left the roster in a state of disarray, particularly at forward. Long-time starting goaltender Devan Dubnyk seems to have hit a wall, despite representing the team at last year’s All-Star weekend in San Jose. His back up, former Sharks Alex Stalock, is a slight improvement, but as Sharks fans know, is less than reliable in net. Because of this, the Wild sit just barely above the Sharks in the bottom of the Western Conference, racking up five wins in 15 games.
With both teams facing issues in the crease and looking for ways for their offense to get going, it could be a high event showdown tonight. But if the Sharks can continue to keep to puck off their opponents’ sticks — and therefore, away from Martin Jones — there’s no reason they can’t get a better streak going.
Expected Scratches: Trevor Carrick, Lukas Radil
Injured Reserve: Jacob Middleton (shoulder), Dalton Prout (upper body), Melker Karlsson (upper body)
Jason Zucker — Eric Staal — Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise — Mikko Koivu — Kevin Fiala
Marcus Foligno — Joel Eriksson Ek — Jordan Greenway
Ryan Donato — Luke Kunin — Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter — Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin — Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy — Brad Hunt
Expected Scratches: Victor Rask, Nick Seeler
Injured Reserve: Greg Pateryn (bilateral core muscle), Mason Shaw (knee)
Where to Watch
Tonight’s game at SAP Center is expected to start at 7:30 p.m./10 p.m. Eastern. It will be broadcast on NBC Sporta California, Fox Sports North and Fox Sports Wisconsin. Streaming is available via NHLtv. The radio broadcast will be on 98.5 KFOX in the Bay Area, and available on the NHL app or the Sharks + SAP app.