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Sharks end trip with yet another loss
Heartless 3rd period costs San Jose
2/26/12 - By Mike Lee -

If things couldn't get any worse, the Sharks discovered new ways to dip into the failure pool on Sunday. Defensive lapses and another 3rd period collapse spelled doom for the Sharks who lost of for the 7th time on their season long 9-game road trip. The Minnesota Wild scored a pair of late goals to steal a 4-3 decision at Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis. A fluke injury to head coach Todd McLellan was the cherry on top of a 16 day nightmare.

McLellan was struck in the head by Marco Scandella's stick after the Wild defenseman was checked into the boards by Jamie McGinn. The Sharks bench boss collapsed and was attended to after players furiously called for medical staff.

Unfortunately, it was the only thing the Sharks did furiously during their trip. McLellan was reported to be attentive after the game, but was held for observation in the visiting coach's office for the latter half of the game.

Luckily for McLellan, he wasn't forced to endure his team's 3rd period implosion.

It was another ending that was soured by the lack of any defensive accountability. After former Wild defenseman Brent Burns staked the Sharks to a 3-2 lead with 11:15 to play, San Jose went into prevent mode, backing themselves into a corner that they were ill equipped to hold.

Matt Cullen tied the game with 5:27 left in regulation, deflecting a Scandella shot from the left point. Jason Demers made a meek clearing attempt from the left corner that setup Scandella's shot on goal.

The Cullen goal energized the Wild and deflated the Sharks, who seemed resolved to surrendering another goal. That was fulfilled, when former Shark Jed Ortmeyer scored the game winner 74 seconds later, deflecting a Jared Spurgeon shot again after San Jose failed to clear the zone. The Sharks seemed to be mesmerized by the puck, following, rather than gaining control of it. Another half-hearted clearing attempt, this time by Marc-Edouard Vlasic was tee'd up for Spurgeon, who simply threw it on net.

Burns goal should have been icing on a Sharks win had San Jose held on to the two goal lead they grabbed in the opening period. Tommy Wingels scored the game's opening goal just 82 second in, oe-timing a Jamie McGinn feed from behind the Wild goal. Wingels did a nice job to keep the puck in the Minnesota zone, chipping it deep before circling to the high slot that driving to the net to receive McGinn's helper.

Joe Thornton staked the Sharks to the 2-0 lead, depositing a loose puck into a wide open net after Torey Mitchell tried jamming a shot past Niklas Backstrom. Thornton picked the puck out of Backstrom's pads before flipping home his 14th of the season.

Sharks goaltender Thomas Greiss didn't get much support from his teammates, but he also didn't help himself much either. Greiss allowed Cal Clutterbuck to throw a puck from the right wing boards after waltzing past the Sharks blueliners. The 35-foot shot from the severe angle should have been easily defended by the Sharks netminder, but it wasn't to be.

Nick Schultz tied the game at 2-2 early in the 2nd period after Benn Ferriero was sent off for hooking. Schultz sent a shot from the right point, that Patrick Marleau tipped, fooling Greiss.

All the McLellan wackiness ensued shortly thereafter, but he wasn't the only Shark employee to require medical attention. Logan Couture was helped off the ice with 14 minutes left in regulation after being targeted all night with high hits. He had his face smashed into the glass early in the 2nd period, then was sent into the boards again face-first after being boarded in the 3rd.

Former Wild defenseman Brent Burns put the Sharks back on top 8:45 into the 3rd period after also drawing a tripping penalty on Warren Peters. Burns cranked a shot from the high slot, beating Backstrom for his 10th goal of the season. The puck slipped through a forest of legs parked in front of the Minnesota net.

The lead Burns staked his current team to after San Jose buckled.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 2 0 1 3
MIN 1 1 2 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Wingels 3 (McGinn, Marleau), 1:22. 2, SJ, Thornton 14 (Mitchell, Burns), 3:21. 3, MIN, Clutterbuck (unassisted), 9:13.
2nd period - 4, MIN, Schultz 1 (Brodziak), 1:43, (pp).
3rd period - 5, SJ, Burns 10 (Thornton, Marleau), 8:45, (pp). 6, MIN, Cullen 14 (Scandella), 14:33. 7, MIN, Ortmeyer 1 (Spurgeon), 15:47.
Penalties
1st period - Marleau, SJ (high sticking), 14:09; McGinn, SJ (roughing), 19:22.
2nd period - Ferriero, SJ (hooking), 1:39; Brodziak, MIN (goaltender interference), 8:44; Vlasic, SJ (holding), 16:30; Zanon, MIN (slashing), 19:17.
3rd period - Peters, MIN (tripping), 7:34.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Greiss 26 22
SJ - Backstrom 28 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 12 2 14 28
MIN 7 13 6 26
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
MIN 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Marco Scandella
Nick Palmieri
Jared Spurgeon
Attendence
17,401
Officials
Referees: Hebert, Devorski. Linesmen: Nelson, Cormier.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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