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Wild Reunion
Heatley & Setoguchi make their return to San Jose
11/10/11 - By Mike Lee -

The San Jose Sharks - Minnesota Wild family reunion went off without a hitch on Thursday night at HP Pavilion. Per Brent Burns script, San Jose skated away with the win, Minnesota with the loss, and everyone parted friends. What probably wasn't part of Burns script was all the details that San Jose shored up, turning in one heck of a solid performance en route to a 3-1 win.

With all the hype surrounding all the players that changed teams over the summer, it was the longest tenured Shark that generated all the offense that San Jose would need. What was most impressive, was that San Jose dissected the Minnesota penalty kill, which had stopped 21 of 21 chances over their last 5 games.

The Sharks were 2-on-5 on the power play, with both goals courtesy of Patrick Marleau and his deft stick work. He opened the games scoring by pouncing on a turnover deep in the Wild zone and squeezing a shot between the post and Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom. Marleau then added his 2nd goal of the night with a one-timer from the right dot.

Former Wild defenseman Brent Burns was credited with the secondary assist on Marleau's second goal, making him the only player that was involved in the Minnesota - San Jose trade-a-thon to record a point.

It wasn't a goal, but the point allowed Burns to gloat a little. He made it no secret this week that he was not rooting for Minnesota.

"I want them to go 0 and 82," Burns said on Wednesday.

Burns was rooting for is former teammates to score 6-goals a night, so long as they lose!

He sounded a little more relived following the game.

"It was good to get this first meeting over with. The first one is always going to be weird. I'm sure the first one in Minny is going to be the same."

And lose they did Thursday night. Torrey Mitchell scored his first goal of the season with 81 seconds left in the 2nd period to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead and essentially floor the Wild. Even thought they had ripped off 5 straight wins, Minnesota still isn't an offensive juggernaut. Coming back from a 3-goal deficit just wasn't in the cards for the Wild.

Kyle Brodziak did snap Antti Niemi's shutout bid with 6:27 to play, but the game was all but decided by then.

Former Sharks Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley didn't partake in the Wild's lone goal, but they figured into the game early. Both forwards were sent off for separate penalties in the 1st period. Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray welcomed Setoguchi back with a jarring hit in the game's first minute. Murray plastered Setoguchi in front of the Minnesota bench, drawing some chuckles on the Sharks bench.

Former Wild forward Martin Havlat, the player acquired for Heatley, didn't figure in any of the Sharks scoring. Havlat skated 24 shifts, and recorded 4 shots on Backstrom. Even though he didn't score, Havlat put thing into perspective.

"It feels great, though it doesn't matter who you play as long as you get the two points," said Czech forward.

Reunion aside, the Sharks were looking to improve a couple of problem areas. The first being the penalty kill, which has been their Achilles Heel this season. San Jose only played down a man here times during the game, but they escaped unscathed. The penalty kill unit clamped down on Minnesota, denying the Wild from getting pucks to Niemi.

"I obviously liked the result; I thought our effort was very good. We are a patient team," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "We managed the game very well. We didn't give up many opportunities. Our power play clicked. Our penalty kill was fine. We talked about complete nights not that long ago, and this was pretty close."

Marleau's goals helped keep the Sharks power play rolling. San Jose ranks 6th in the NHL in power play efficiency.

"We haven't had any issues with our power play," McLellan added. "We aren't trying to paint a Picasso. It's about scoring goals and our power play did that again for us. That part of it is good. We knew they were going to have a very good penalty kill, and we found ways to beat it and that's rewarding."

Another reason San Jose excelled was the success in the face off circle. Michal Handzus led the Sharks by winning 9 of 14 draws.


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1 2 3 T
MIN 0 0 1 1
SJ 0 3 0 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Marleau 5 (Boyle, Braun), 2:34, (pp). 2, SJ, Marleau 6 (Clowe, Burns), 15:34, (pp). 3, SJ, Mitchell 1 (Handzus), 18:39.
3rd period - 4, MIN, Brodziak 3 (Zidlicky, Schultz), 13:33.
1st period - Scandella, MIN (illegal stick), 3:08; D. Muray, SJ (tripping), 5:38; Heatley, MIN (interfernece), 6:24; Setoguchi, MIN (tripping), 9:19.
2nd period - Bouchard, MIN (hooking), 1:41; Clowe, SJ (interference), 5:58; Scandella, MIN (tripping), 13:39.
3rd period - Clutterbuck, MIN (roughing), 6:48; Pavelski, SJ (slashing), 6:48; Boyle, SJ (slashing), 7:50.
Shots Saves
MIN - Backstrom 36 33
SJ - Niemi 22 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
MIN 5 10 7 22
SJ 7 18 11 36
Power Play Conversion
MIN 0 of 3
SJ 2 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Torrey Mitchell
Niklas Backstrom
Referees: O'Halloran, L'Ecuyer. Linesmen: Galloway, Brisebois.
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