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Burns beauty wins it late in Minny
San Jose splits 2-gamer with Wild
1/24/21 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks closed out their 2-game series with the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night with a nail biting 5-3 win at Xcel Energy Center. The Sharks built a 2-goal lead, then allowed Minnesota to tie the game before Brent Burns scored one of the prettiest goals of his career to help San Jose salvage a split after falling 48 hours earlier in Minneapolis.

Everyone was talking about the game winner, which came courtesy of Burns with 1:48 left in regulation. The Sharks defenseman grabbed a Tomas Hertl draw out the outside of the right circle, then skated around a pair of Wild defenders with four direction changes right-left-right-left, before lifting a backhand shot from the doorstep past Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen to break a 3-3 tie.

Burns dexterity and nimbleness with the puck was amazing for a man that stands 6'5" and 230 pounds. His skating with the puck was a thing of beauty, but the skill with the stick simply made the play special. It coming so late in a tie game added to the drama.

It was simply clutch, given the Sharks struggles and the fact that they had blown a two-goal lead against a very good Wild roster. Minnesota came back twice against Los Angeles to start the season, and looked primed to steal this game.

The Wild grabbed the lead 4:21 into the game when Zach Parise deposited a Kirill Kaprizov feed from the slot. Kaprizov raced up the right wing chasing the puck off the faceoff before sliding a pass to Parise on his left. Timo Meier was late to provide defensive support, allowing Parise to walk in on Martin Jones and flip a shot over the netminder's left shoulder.

The Sharks controlled the offense for much of the period, out-shooting Minnesota 12-3 in the frame. They would convert late in the period when Ryan Donato flipped a seeing-eye shot on net from the bottom of the right circle. Kevin Labanc sent a backhand drop pass to Donato from the end boards, before the Sharks forward threw the puck to the front of the net. The puck clipped Jared Spurgeon in the skate, altering the trajectory of the shot perfectly under goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen's right leg pad for his 2nd goal of the season.

A wild two minute span saw the Sharks score a pair of goals, but more importantly those tallies sandwiched a would be goal by Minnesota that was overturned after a challenge.

Evander Kane started the sequence with his 2nd goal of the season on a power play after Kevin Fiala was sent off for high sticking. Kane was on the tail end of a passing exchange started by Donato, who sent a cross-ice feed to Meier on the left wing. Meier caught Kane pinching in the slot, feeding him with a one time chance that beat Kahkonen for the 2-1 Sharks lead.

The Wild thought they had tied the game after the next faceoff when they pushed a puck across the goal line, but a challenge confirmed that Bjugstad pushed Jones' leg pad over the line, carrying it over the line.

San Jose responded immediately.

Noah Gregor sent a long shot in on net from the right wing boards, catching Kahkonen in the glove, but the Wild netminder couldn't control the puck. It floated over home for Gregor's 1st goal of the season, but more importantly it padded the Sharks lead.

That came in handy when Bjugstad deflected a Spurgeon shot with 3:13 remaining in the period.

A Markus Sorensen slashing penalty at 7:16 of the 3rd period would haunt the Sharks. Minnesota took all of 4 seconds on the power play to convert when Fiala fired a shot past Jones to tie the game.

Burns worked his magic late in the period and Matt Nieto added an empty-net goal to cap the scoring. Even the empty-netter was an adventure. Sorensen looked to be off-side as Nieto entered the Minnesota zone, but a challenge ruled that the extra goal would stand.

Game Notes:

* Tomas Hertl took a puck off the inside of his left knee in the 3rd period, which required treatment on the bench.

* Nikolai Knyzhov squared off with Jordan Greenway in the 2nd period with what should have been the rookie's first fighting major, but referees issued roughing minors to the two bantam-weights.

* Ryan Donato led the Sharks with a goal and an assist. The goal was special for the new Shark, who spent the last two season with Minnesota.

* Dylan Gambrell won 12 of 16 draws for the Sharks for a hefty 75% faceoff conversion rate.

* Timo Meier and Logan Couture led the Sharks with 5 shots each. Meier has struggled early this season.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 2 2 5
MIN 1 1 1 3
1st period - 1, MIN, Parise 2 (Kaprizov), 4:21. 2, SJ, Donato 2 (Labanc, Karlsson), 19:02.
2nd period - 3, SJ, Kane 2 (Meier, Donato), 6:39, (pp). 4, SJ, Gregor 1 (Ferraro), 8:26. 5, MIN, Bjugstad 1 (Spurgeon, Suter), 16:47.
3rd period - 6, MIN, Fiala 2 (Suter, Parise), 7:20, (pp). 7, SJ, Burns 2 (Hertl), 18:12. 8, SJ, Nieto 2 (), 19:31, (en).
1st period - Bench, SJ (too many men), 7:54; Hartman, MIN (interfernce), 10:34; Bjustad, MIN (hooking), 19:45.
2nd period - Fiala, MIN (high sticking), 5:17; Karlsson, SJ (holding the stick), 10:43; Knyzov, SJ (roughing), 16:41; Greenway, MIN (roughing), 16:41.
3rd period - Sorensen, SJ (slashing), 7:16; Burns, SJ (rouging), 10:32; Greenway, MIN (roughing), 10:32; Sorensen, SJ (tripping), 14:34; Soucy, MIN (slashing), 19:48.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 18 16
MIN - Khakonen 24 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 12 12 12 36
MIN 3 15 11 29
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
Min 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Brent Burns
Zach Parise
Kaapo Kahkonen
Xcel Energy Center - attendence not available
Referees: Pochmara, Rooney. Linesmen: Flemington, Suchanek.

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