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Slow start too much to overcome
SJ falls 5-2 after staging late comeback bid
12/9/2021 - By Mike Lee

The Sharks dispatched the top team in the Pacific Division in the Calgary flames on Tuesday. They would not be so lucky on Thursday as the Central Division and Western Conference leading Minnesota Wild suppressed a 3rd period comeback attempt by the Sharks to win 5-2 at SAP Center. The Sharks scored a pair of goals in the final period to cut into a 3-0 Wild lead, before surrendering a pair of empty net goals late to drop their 13th loss of the season.

The final score was misleading, because this was a 1-goal game with a couple of minutes to play. Where the Sharks have to be kicking themselves is in their special teams play, which was perfect on Tuesday. On this night, it would be a complete about face as San Jose allowed the Wild to convert on 2 of 3 power play chances.

The Wild took advantage of a deflection off a Jon Merrill shot 6:22 into the contest. The puck hit off Mario Ferraro and rainbowed over to Kevin Fiala on the left side for an easy deposit and a 1-0 lead. Defenseman Brent Burns may have had a chance to tie up Fiala's stick but tried to swat at the puck and missed.

There wasn't much for the bare bones crowd to cheer about in the opening period. Minnesota out-shot San Jose 10-9 in the period, but they seemed to control the puck for most of the period.

Jake Middleton was sent off for tripping at 6:49 of the 2nd period, and the Wild used all of 15 seconds to convert on the ensuing power play. Joel Ericksson Ek redirected a Mats Zuccarello feed from the slot. Zuccarello threw the puck to the area out in front of the Sharks net from the right wing boards, where Ericksson Ek changed the direction of the puck by about 60 degrees.

Middleton's night got worse when he was whistled for holding Nick Bjugstad at 13:33. Jordan Greenway made it a 3-0 game when he snapped a shot inside the right post after sailing past the Sharks defense as he attacked from the left side. Kevin Fiala feathered a pass after entering the Sharks zone in the high slot.

If they were to award penalty hat trick's, Middleton would have earned it with another hooking penalty just 34 seconds into the 3rd period. The Sharks were able to kill that one, but the damage was done.

The Sharks finally got on the board at 3:29 when Jonathan Dahlen tipped an Erik Karlsson shot as the rookie skated near the Wild crease. Karlsson uncorked his shot from just outside the right circle near the right wing boards. The goal was Dahlen's 8th of the season.

Jordie Benn was called for holding the stick at 9:02, but the Sharks could not capitalize.

That would not be the case after Jonas Brodin took a hooking penalty at 13:17. The Sharks cashed in when Tomas Hertl deposited his 13th goal of the season just 9 seconds into the power play. The Sharks forward was loitering across the top of the crease, when Dahlen bounced a shot off goaltender Cam Talbot. The rebound kicked over to Hertl who swept it into the wide open net.

Sharks head coach Bob Boughner elected to pull Adin Hill with 2 minutes to play and that backfired on when Greenway muscled Burns off the puck and slipped home an empty net goal.

Kirill Kaprizov added another empty netter to cap the game's scoring.

Game Notes:

* Brent Burns played in his 624th consecutive game with the Sharks, tying him with Patrick Marleau for the franchise record.

* The Jonathan Dahlen goal resulted in 3-game points streaks for him, Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl. Dahlen has 5 points in his last 5 games. That's 6 points for Hertl in his last 3 games. Karlsson has 6 points in his last 6 games.

* The announced attendance was 10,782, which accounts for tickets sold. It looked like a majority of those people who paid for this game elected to stay home. The building was less than 20% full at puck drop.

* Returning from his 1-game benching, Kevin Labanc was noticeably present in the game. He finished the contest with 3 shots on goal and led the team in hits with 4.

* San Jose out-hit Minnesota 31-19. Tomas Hertl, Marc, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Erik Karlsson and Alexander Barabanov were the only Sharks who did not record a hit in the game.


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1 2 3 T
MIN 1 2 0 3
SJ 0 0 2 2
1st period - 1, MIN, Fiala 4 (Merrill, Duhaime), 6:22.
2nd period - 2, MIN, Eriksson Ek 11 (Zuccarello, Kaprizov), 7:04, (pp).
3rd period - 4, SJ, Dahlen 8 (Karlsson, Hertl), 3:29. 5, SJ, Hertl 13 (Dahlen, Couture), 13:26, (pp).
1st period - None.
2nd period - Merrill, MIN (tripping), 1:47; Middleton, SJ (tripping), 6:49; Middleton, SJ (holding), 13:33.
3rd period - Middleton, SJ (hooking), 0:34; Benn, MIN (holding the stick), 9:02; Brodin, MIN (hooking), 13:17.
Shots Saves
MIN - Talbot 35 33
SJ - Hill 25 22
SJ - empty net 2 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
MIN 10 8 9 27
SJ 9 7 19 35
Power Play Conversion
MIN 2 of 3
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Kevin Fiala
Jonathan Dahlen
Jordan Greenway
SAP Center - 10,782
Referees: #23 Corey Syvret, #40 Steve Kozari . Linesmen: #73 Vaughan Rody, #94 Bryan Pancich.

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