Instant Replay: Sharks can't overcome early Wild goals, drop showdown

Instant Replay: Sharks can't overcome early Wild goals, drop showdown


The Wild scored a pair of goals in the first period in jumping out to a two-goal lead, and that was all it needed in a 3-1 win over the Sharks at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday evening in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would suggest.

The Sharks lost for the first time in regulation since Feb. 9 in Boston (5-1-3).

The Wild regained first place overall in the Western Conference, with its third win in four games. It also won its 10th straight game after a loss, after dropping a 1-0 decision in Columbus on Thursday.

All of the scoring before a late empty netter came in the first period, and the Sharks were fortunate to be only down by 2-1 for most of the game.

Minnesota controlled play at the outset of the first period, but Martin Jones made a pair saves on Ryan White from point blank range, and another on Jason Pominville later on.

The Wild earned a power play later on a marginal call on Dylan DeMelo, and capitalized when Zach Parise, stationed in the slot, redirected a shot-pass from Pominville at 11:06.

The lead increased to 2-0 at 15:24, when Eric Staal whipped in a nice backhanded feed from the corner by Matt Dumba. Minutes earlier, Chris Stewart thought he had given Minnesota a two-goal lead, but his shot sailed into the back of Jones’ sweater at the neck, causing some momentary confusion.

The Sharks got on the board before the end of the first, courtesy of the fourth line. Justin Braun went behind the goal line to Micheal Haley, who quickly found Melker Karlsson in front for a goal at 18:26.

Special teams play dominated the second period, as the Sharks were forced to kill off 3:53 of a Joe Pavelski double-minor for high sticking. The Wild managed just one shot over the extended advantage.

Rather than tie it up, though, the Sharks squandered a pair of power play opportunities later in the second, as that group continued what has basically been a season-long slump.

Jones kept the Sharks in the game, and stopped three breakaways – one in each of the three periods on Marco Scandella, Parise, and Mikael Granlund, in that order.

The Wild didn’t allow the Sharks any high danger scoring chances in the third period until Devan Dubnyk stopped Chris Tierney in front with 2:02 to go.

Staal got his second of the night into an empty net with 1:49 left.

Special teams:
Entering with the league’s best power play at home, the Wild finished 1-for-4 with a man advantage.

The Sharks went 0-for-3. San Jose is 2-for-20 on the power play over its last eight games, and just 26-for-166 (15.6 percent) since Nov. 1.

In goal:
Jones, far and away the Sharks’ best player on the night, fell to 30-16-6 on the season with two goals allowed on 27 shots. He’s 0-2 against Minnesota this season, and 2-3-0 in his career.

Dubnyk recorded his league-leading 35th win, two of which have come over San Jose. The NHL’s leader in save percentage made 20 stops.

The Sharks were still without new addition Jannik Hansen, as he sorts out his immigration. Hansen isn’t expected to make his debut in teal until Thursday’s home game with Washington at the earliest.

On defense, DeMelo returned from a broken wrist in place of David Schlemko, who suffered a lower body injury on Thursday. DeMelo was playing his first game since Jan. 10 in Edmonton.

Joonas Donskoi, now an option after recovering from an upper body injury, was a healthy scratch as Marcus Sorensen remained in the lineup.

Minnesota’s Parise and Pominville were both returning after missing three games with the mumps.

Up next:
The Sharks wrap up their quick two-game road trip on Monday in Winnipeg. San Jose has downed the Jets in both meetings so far, including a 4-3 win at MTS Centre on Jan. 24.


Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Well, the Sharks certainly made it interesting. Every time the Ducks scored a goal on Friday evening, the Sharks came back and were able to tie things up. They even got the game-tying goal late in the third period that took their contest into overtime – at least, before they lost 4-3.

Perhaps at a different time of year, getting their first point in five games would feel better. Not on this night. 

The focus remains on the work to be done with just seven games left in the regular season. For Team Teal, they need to clean their game up and get back into the win column.

“It’s better than nothing, but overall, we’re just not finding ways to win games now,” Timo Meier told the media in Anaheim regarding the single point. “We’ve got to find a way to win games. It’s an important time of the year. Playoffs are really close.”

San Jose put a better effort on the ice on Friday than they did the previous evening in LA against the Kings, but the opportunistic Ducks were able to bury more of their chances,

"I don’t think we gave them very much," Peter DeBoer said. "Every chance they got, they stuck in the net, though."

DeBoer was more critical of the team a second night in a row, and rightfully so. Despite outshooting the opposition, the Sharks weren’t able to find the back of the net enough times. They allowed two goals while playing on the penalty kill and tallied 14 giveaways. Plus, outside of Meier’s power-play marker, San Jose still went one-for-five on the man advantage. Despite tying the score up three times, the Sharks couldn’t keep the Ducks from responding.

Clearly, all areas of the game need to be tweaked.

“We’ve got to find a way to get an extra save, and on (the other) end we’ve got to find a way to get another goal,” DeBoer said. “We could’ve used a power-play goal tonight -- another one.”

Perhaps the only silver lining, as Meier put it, is that the Sharks are going through this stretch now instead of once they get into the playoffs. San Jose is still trying to get some of its key players healthy and into the lineup so they can make a deep playoff run with the lines and pairs they want. The goal, at least at the moment, is to make sure this five-game skid is a lesson to learn from and not a prelude to the future.

"Get stronger as a team, get tighter as a group, and learn," Meier said. "It’s going to make us stronger going into the playoffs because there are going to be lots of ups and downs coming up. It’s going to make us stronger and we’ve got to react the right way.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks


All the Sharks needed was a win. Just one win on Friday evening against the Ducks. Two points to salvage the road trip, stop the losing streak, and get back to hunting for first place in the division.

Not surprisingly, Team Teal made things interesting with a game that stayed tied up heading down the stretch. Unfortunately for San Jose, the Ducks were the victors in overtime 4-3.

Here are three takeaways from Friday’s game:

How did the power play look?

In a few words: nonexistent until the third. San Jose had three opportunities on the man advantage through the first 40 minutes of play and couldn’t make anything happen. They even gave up a couple breaks the other way that Dell had to stop. Had the power play converted, the Sharks might’ve been up by two or three goals after two period of play.

Timo Meier came up big with the power-play goal in the third period to tie the score up 2-2. While they couldn’t capitalize on the power-play opportunity immediately followed, Meier’s marker will hopefully open up the flood gates for the power play.

Who else stepped up?

Sharks’ bench boss Peter DeBoer didn’t mince words after Thursday’s loss to the Kings, saying that the team needed someone to step up during this stretch with injured superstars and be a hero.

“You’ve got to get a great performance from somebody in a game like this and I don’t think we got that,” DeBoer said on Thursday.

In all honesty, the whole team looked better even with the loss. The fourth line had a couple very memorable shifts, cycling low and establishing pressure. Joe Thornton’s line was clicking, which was clear from Kevin Labanc’s goal.

Gustav Nyquist was a solo standout – despite not finding the back of the net, he played a heck of a game and had some incredible looks. Of course, you can’t talk about this game without talking about Justin Braun scoring the big game-tying goal in the third frame, which was his first marker since December 2.

How did Aaron Dell do?

In all fairness, Dell gave the Sharks a chance to win for the majority of the game. No. 30 has looked good in his last couple of outings – save his relief effort against the Golden Knights earlier in the week when he had little defense to help him out – and he made a couple great saves in Anaheim as well, especially when the Ducks had a couple short-handed breakaways.

Unfortunately for Dell, he gave up the two power-play goals in the third frame. While Braun was the hero and scored the tying goal late in the third to help take the game into overtime, Dell still couldn’t hold down the fort in overtime. It doesn’t matter if he’s the backup or not – at this time of the season, playing too loose late in games isn’t good.