The Sharks finished strong but at that point, it was too little too late.
Eventually losing 5-2 to the Minnesota Wild Thursday night at SAP Center, the Sharks made a late push against the NHL's best team after digging themselves into a 3-0 hole early on.
Goals from both Jonathan Dahlen and Tomas Hertl in the third period put San Jose within one with 6:34 remaining in regulation. Two quick goals from Minnesota in the final two minutes sealed San Jose's fate.
The Sharks came out flat and their approach out of the gate put them in such a hole that not even a late-game surge could fix.
"It's a good team and in order to beat those good teams, you have to be good for 60 minutes," coach Bob Boughner told reporters postgame. "Especially our team, I think that it took too long to find our game tonight."
"Honestly we looked a little slower than them, especially in the second they were all over us," Hertl said postgame. "We were always just behind the puck and couldn't really get from our D-zone."
Dahlen had six shots on goal Thursday night, a season-high. After missing a few games at the end of November, the Sharks' centerman has needed some time to reacclimate and appears to be back at full strength.
"It was tough missing those games there, you really feel what league you're playing in when you miss a couple games," Dahlen said. "When you come back, it's tough but it's gotten better and better and I feel pretty good now."
Having faced the Calgary Flames on Tuesday and the Wild Thursday night, the Sharks have played back-to-back games against the two best teams in the Western Conference.
The homestand will continue against the Dallas Stars, another formidable opponent, Saturday night before the Sharks welcome the newest NHL team, the Seattle Kraken, to SAP Center on Tuesday.