Game Sixty-Nine Wrapup: San Jose Sharks 3, Minnesota Wild 2 (SO)

This was old time hockey like Eddie Shore minus the fisticuffs, which given how the Wild's roster sports the like of Chris Simon and Derek Boogaard is something of a surprise... or would be except Boogaard is on injured reserve and Simon was a healthy scratch. But I digress.

The game had a lot of play that was both fast and gritty. San José notched the first two goals, the first coming while the Wild were still singing the national anthem and the second later on in the first period when Tomas Plihal made yet another "please don't send me back to Worchester" statement on a penalty shot.

Unfortunately, that was it for the offense. There were chances, but no conversions. Meanwhile, the Teddy Bears kept plugging away at it. Evgeni Nabokov made some quality saves, but eventually the Wild tied it up with less than a minute to go. Oh boy, overtime.

In the military, a true leader is the first one in and the last one out. In hockey, a leader is the bacon-saver and breadwinner rolled into one. Patrick Marleau was a leader today. First, his being mindful of playing both ways preserved the tie courtesy of his mid-air swatting away of Marian Gaborik's shot after it had first ticked off of Christian Ehrhoff's stick and then gotten past Nabokov. Then in the shootout -- and would someone kindly explain to me why the home team so often chooses to shoot first? -- with the matter at one goal each after the first two rounds, Marleau snapped home a perfect wrister to send Los Tiburones to their franchise record ninth straight win.

It's good to see the Sharks weather the storm and then seal the deal in a game featuring far more grind than grace. A good thing to remember come playoff time... a time fast approaching.