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Not so wild about Minnesota
Home woes continue for Sharks
12/12/15 - By Mike Lee -

Home or road, the Sharks just can't seem to shake out of the doldrums that have plagued them the last 6 games. San Jose returned home on Saturday night to take a middle of the pack Minnesota Wild team that slow played the Sharks into a 2-0 loss at SAP Center. The Wild played the perfect road game, suppressing their hosts before scoring a 3rd period goal to steal a win. Zach Parise played spoiler, scoring the game winning goal and then tacking on an assist on a late empty-net score that sealed the Sharks fate.

Recognizing the team's struggles, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer juggled his lines on Saturday night, moving Joe Thornton to the second line and elevating Tomas Hertl to the top line. The move had little effect.

In fact, the Sharks got worse on Saturday night. Facing a team that's not exactly gifted with team speed, the Sharks looked like they had just finished walking home from Edmonton. The Wild didn't walk all over the Sharks, but they were the team that generated actual scoring chances throughout the game.

You could count the scoring chances San Jose generated on one hand, as the Wild simply waited out the Sharks. It's a typical ploy for teams playing in a hostile environment. Get through the first 40 minutes of the game and pick your chances.

The Wild did exactly that, keeping the puck away from their net and goaltender Darcy Kuemper. The Sharks were credited with 6 shots in the opening period, which netted them a single quality scoring chance.

A Mikael Granlund holding penalty midway through the opening frame gave the Sharks an opportunity to at least test Kuemper, but the Sharks did nothing with the power play opportunity.

A Miko Koivu tripping infraction 1:30 into the 2nd period, setup another chance for the Sharks. San Jose seemed to slip back into the power play impotent state that dragged them to the bottom of the league's special teams rankings earlier in the season, by lacking any discipline with zone entry and passing.

The Wild snuffed out both chances with ease.

The came as close as they would come to scoring with 2:48 left in the 2nd period, when Chris Tierney raced up the right wing on a 2-on-1 break with Melker Karlsson on his left. The Sharks forward took one strides too many, sending a pass to the front of the goal mouth as Karlsson was hauled down by Koivu. Referee Greg Kimmerly seemed hesitant to call a third consecutive penalty on the Wild, allowing the play to go on.

Mike Brown would draw a penalty 30 seconds later, after he hit Granlund with what Tom Kowal deemed boarding. The Sharks held the Wild to a pair of shots on the power play to carry the 0-0 tie into the final frame.

In that fateful period, defenseman Brent Burns failed to protect the front of his own net by floating out to the left dot while a puck cycled out to the left point. Parise parked himself in front of the net where he received a pass from Granlund. All he needed to from there was pivot toward the net and lift a shot past Martin Jones for the 1-0 lead.

The Sharks lacked any real urgency after the Parise goal, burning clock without a pressing need to try and tie the game.

DeBoer pulled Jones with 1:39 left in the game, but the Wild buried San Jose when Koivu sent a shot from behind the centerline into the empty net.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
MIN 0 0 2 2
SJ 0 0 0 0
1st period - None.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 1, MIN, Parise 9 (Granlund, Pominville), 4:41. 2, MIN, Koivu 5 (Parise, Spurgeon), 19:26, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Granlund, MIN (holding), 9:35.
2nd period - Koivu, MIN (tripping), 1:30; Brown, SJ (boarding), 18:15.
3rd period - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
MIN - Kuemper 25 25
SJ - Jones 29 28
SJ - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
MIN 8 8 14 30
SJ 6 9 10 25
Power Play Conversion
MIN 0 of 1
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Zach Parise
Darcey Kuemper
Martin Jones
Attendance
16,766
Officials
Referees: Kimmerly, Kowal. Linesmen: Knorr, Murchison.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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