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Sharks snooze through loss in Minny
Wild smothers San Jose in 3-1 win
3/5/17 - By Mike Lee -

The good news is the Sharks didn't blow another 4-1 lead in the 3rd period like the last time they played the Minnesota Wild. The bad news is, they were overmatched for three periods, and never even came close to holding a lead against the Wild. San Jose spent the majority of the night chasing a faster Wild team en route to a 3-1 loss at Xcel Energy Center. The loss was reminiscent of the Sharks performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals last spring. The Sharks were overmatched and never really made an appearance in the loss.

San Jose looked old. The looked slow. They looked like a team that doesn't know how to adjust to a game plan that was simply superior. The fact is, the Wild are a very good team, and they took it to the Sharks on home ice.

The Sharks dug themselves a hole in the opening period, courtesy of a questionable boarding call against rookie Kevin Labanc. Labanc was trailing defenseman Christian Folin who dropped to a knee as he chased puck to his own end boards. Labanc got a hand on Folin who crashed awkwardly into the boards. Zach Parise converted on the ensuing power play, by punching in a Jason Pominville feed past Martin Jones from the top of the crease.

Jones made one of the odder saves you'll ever see two minutes later, when a Chris Stewart shot tucked under his jersey after catching it at the collar. Everyone in a Wild jersey thought the puck cross the goal line, but once it disappeared under Jones' jersey, there was no way to determine if the puck crossed the puck with any certainty.

Eric Staal made it a 2-0 game at 15:24 after slipping past Marcus Sorensen and snapping a shot from 15 feet out. Matt Dumba fed Staal from behind the Sharks net, taking advantage of the Sharks defensive lapse.

a Marco Scandella high sticking penalty put the Sharks on the power play on the ensuing faceoff, but the power play couldn't generate any pressure on Wild goaltender Devin Dubnyk. Scandella had the best scoring chance after taking a lead pass upon exiting the penalty box. The Wild defenseman raced up ice, but was denied by Jones.

San Jose cut the Wild lead in half with 1:34 left in the period when Melker Karlsson deposited the back end of a tic-tac-toe passing sequence that started with Justin Braun hitting Micheal Haley from the right corner. Haley received the pass from the end boards past the left post, and quickly redirected it to the goal mouth where Karlsson was cutting. Karlsson lifted the shot, getting it past Dubnyk for his 9th goal of the season.

Joe Pavelski got the Sharks into more hot water after cutting Jonas Brodin with a high stick to draw a double minor 7 seconds before the 1st intermission. One a night where the Sharks were happy with morale victories, the big one was keeping the Wild off the board during the 4 minute penalty kill.

Morale victories don't count in the standings, and when San Jose needed to step it up, they simply flubbed. The middle period was better, but they never really pressured Dubnyk.

The 2nd period ended with the same 2-1 score.

In the critical 3rd period, the Sharks simply did nothing. Dubnyk faced one scoring chance in the period, and that came from third liner Chris Tierney. The Sharks generated a paltry 5 shots in the period, and the top two lines were absent.

The big money guys were nowhere to be found and the Wild simply killed clock.

Special teams continued to set the tone for San Jose. Since November, the Sharks have converted on 15% of power play chances, which has moved them closer to the bottom of the league in that statistic. The penalty kill is already in the bottom half of the league.

Minnesota iced the game with an empty net goal after San Jose was forced to pull Jones. The extra attacker netter the Sharks zero shots on net.

Game Notes:

* Dylan DeMelo returned to the lineup after missing the last 22 games with a broken wrist. DeMelo took David Schlemko's spot on the roster after the defenseman was injured in the Sharks win over Vancouver on Thursday.

* Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns finished the evening with a -2 +/-

* San Jose managed to throw only 21 shots on goal and Brent Burns accounted for 6 of them. The top lines accounted for 5 shots total.

* The Sharks can't lean on the blocked shot excuse as Minnesota only impeded 10 shots during the game.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 1 0 0 1
MIN 2 0 1 3
1st period - 1, MIN, Parise 15 (Pominville, Suter), 11:06, (pp). 2, SJ, Staal 18 (Dumba), 15:24. 3, SJ, Karlsson 9 (Haley, Braun), 18:26.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 4, MIN, Staal 19 (Hanzal), 18:11, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Labanc, SJ (boarding), 9:49; Scandella, MIN (high sticking), 15:47; Pavelski, SJ (high sticking - double minor), 19:53.
2nd period - Parise, MIN (boarding), 9:41; Dumba, MIN (holding), 14:42; Sorensen, SJ (high sticking), 19:19.
3rd period - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 27 25
SJ - empty net 1 0
MIN - Dubnyk 21 20
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 9 7 5 21
MIN 12 9 7 28
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
MIN 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Eric Staal
Zach Parise
Jared Spurgeon
Attendance
Xcel Energy Center - 19,168
Officials
Referees: Hebert, Leggo. Linesmen: Wheler, Mach.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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