Minnesota Wild Comes Up Short in OT, San Jose Sharks Win 4-3


120. Final. 3ot. 98. 4

Playing without Zach Parise, youngster Jason Zucker scored twice and added an assist to keep the Wild alive, but Marc-Edouard Vlasic played hero for his second game in a row as the San Jose Sharks top the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in overtime.

Good Evening, Wild fans. Despite playing well through the first 25 minutes of the game, the Minnesota Wild comes up short of a very winnable game, allowing the Sharks to take a 3-2 lead in the third before losing in overtime. Darcy Kuemper made some incredible saves in the first 30 minutes, even playing several minutes without his stick, but seemed to unravel near the end.

Before we get too far, please take a second and put Zach Parise and his dad J.P. Parise in your thoughts and prayers. J.P was a big part of the Minnesota North Stars and Zach is undoubtedly the heart and soul of the Minnesota Wild. I’m certain his decision to come out of tonight’s game did not come easily.

First Period:

If you like never-ending neutral zone battles, this game was for you. One of the things that really caught me off guard was the sheer size of the Sharks compared to the Wild. Even Justin Falk, who towers at 6-foot-5 looked like a shrimp out there.

It took 4:34 for the Wild to register the game’s first shot on goal, with Justin Fontaine firing a wrister at fellow UMD alumni Alex Stalock.

Barclay Goodrow sent the Wild to their first power play at 09:47. Thomas Vanek had a few really good tip-in chances and accounted for both shots on goal, but he couldn’t get one past Stalock.

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Kuemper made some really great saves in the first period, especially considering the Sharks were outchancing the Wild by the 14th minute. Kuemper channeled his inner magician, freezing the puck and losing it in his breezers.

Jason Zucker, playing on the top line with

Mikko Koivu


Jason Pominville

, put the Wild on the board first. After an icing against the Wild was waved off, Stalock was forced to play the puck. Stalock put the puck right on to Zucker’s tape. Zucker fired a quick wrist shot that slid through Stalock’s 5-hole before he could get all the way back in to the crease.

1-0 Wild at 15:21 of the first period.

Zucker played at a whole new level tonight. More on that later. Pominville earned the lone assist.

Before the dust had settled in the arena,

Jared Spurgeon

put the Wild up by a pair. Zucker and Pominville won a couple of board battles. Zucker, uncovered behind the goal, turned a dropped a pass off for Spurgeon, who was crashing toward the net with

Patrick Marleau

in tow. Despite being shadowed by the much bigger Shark, Spurgeon got a lightning fast wrister away that flew past Stalock to make it

2-0 Wild at 17:22 of the first period.

To close out the period, Falk took a hooking penalty that the Wild killed off, even registering a shorthanded bid. The Sharks didn’t put a shot on net with the man advantage.

Shots after one period: San Jose Sharks 8, Minnesota Wild 10

Second Period:

The Wild went back to the power play a minute in as Zucker drew a tripping penalty. Wild was less successful on this try. Zucker had a great chance thanks to a feed from Vanek, but he got tied up before he could get a shot away.

Just after the power play expired, Koivu took a quite obvious tripping penalty. The Wild PK was good again, holding the Sharks without a shot.

Kuemper played about a minute and a half without his stick and stopped everything the Sharks threw at him. This might be the last nice thing I have to say about Kuemper, so brace yourself.

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  • Melker Karlsson, the promising Sharks rookie, put the Sharks on the board just past the halfway point of the game. Reminiscent of the play that ended the Wild’s playoff run, Brent Burns fired the puck in to the offensive zone, it bounced off the corner stanchion and right in to the low slot. Karlsson picked up the puck and tucked a backhander underneath Kuemper’s right leg pad. 2-1 Wild at 10:54 of the second period. Karlsson has 3 goals in his last three games, by the way.

    Koivu got called for tripping Logan Couture on his next shift after the goal. Koivu was mad and barking at the referee in what I can only presume is Finnish, because I heard the whole thing and couldn’t understand a word of it. Couture took a coincidental minor for embellishment. The Wild remain marginal at 4-on-4 hockey. I was pretty underwhelmed.

    Vanek took a hooking penalty as the 4-on-4 was set to expire. Luckily for Vanek, the Wild let the Sharks run circles with the puck so Koivu’s penalty could expire before Vanek’s kicked in, preventing a 4-on-3. Again, the Wild kept the Sharks out of the offensive zone and without a shot on goal.

    I liked Nino Niederreiter tonight, especially in the second period. He had some really great checks. By and large, I felt like the Wild coasted through the second period and lost all of the steam they had in the first frame.

    Shots through two periods: San Jose Sharks 14, Minnesota Wild 16

    Third Period:

    Marco Scandella let loose his wicked slap shot early, but an uncharacteristically aggressive Stalock flashed the leather for the stop.

    One of the linesmen, Ryan Galloway if you’re curious, took a puck to the side of his ear early on in the third, giving the Wild a nice break. He returned later in the game with a big zipper near his ear.

    With the exception of a few chances and spurts of offense, The Wild spent most of the first 10 minutes of the third in their own end. It finally bit them with a goal from Joe Pavelski. After a long shift in the defensive zone, Charlie Coyle lined up for a face-off with Couture. Couture won the draw, sending the puck to Pavelski who stepped up and fired a quick shot that slid right through an unprepared Kuemper’s 5-hole so fast, I think Kuemper is still wondering what happened. 2-2 tie at 06:21 of the third period.

    Just over a minute later, Tommy Wingels gave the Sharks their first lead of the night. Wingels fired a shot that Kuemper stopped with his toe, but he kicked the rebound right back on to Wingels’ stick. Wingels second shot beat a leaping Kuemper down low. 3-2 Sharks at 07:35 of the third period.

    So, the Wild need a rally… again. Who would be tonight’s unlikely hero? Jason Zucker, of course.

    Entering the zone with his roommate Coyle, Zucker beat the lone Shark in the area on his way down the slot and took a centering pass from Coyle. With Stalock firmly fixed on Coyle, Zucker simply deflected the pass in to a wide open net.

    3-3 tie at 12:12 of the 3rd period.

    No other major scoring chances for either side to end regulation, though Vanek took a questionable interference penalty with 2:30 left to play. Wild killed it off and we head to overtime.

    Scandella didn’t play at all after the 6th minute of the third. I didn’t specifically see him get injured, though I saw reports that he took a puck to the head. He wasn’t on the bench, either.
    Shots through regulation: San Jose Sharks 24, Minnesota Wild 28


    Wild was actually pretty good for the first few minutes of Overtime, with Jason Zucker nearly completing his hat trick bid. Christan Folin earned some OT play with Niederreiter, Vanek, and Jonas Brodin.

    After an extremely long shift including an icing by the Wild, Vlasic ended the game with an extremely stoppable shot. After losing control of the puck and being forced to exit the zone, Vlasic recovered, reentered the zone, and fired a shot that Kuemper tipped in with his blocker on the short side. 4-3 Sharks at 03:09 of overtime. Game over, Sharks win.

    Trembley’s Take:

    Comfortably outshooting the Sharks all game, the Wild easily could have won this game and didn’t. The Wild didn’t even allow a shot on goal during 4 separate Sharks power plays. The Wild need to win at least half of their remaining schedule and the Stars need to cool off for our club to make the playoffs.  A point here is good, but with the Sharks solidly in playoff contention, it’s time for more from the Wild. With Colorado’s win over the Blackhawks tonight, the Wild is just one point out ahead of last place in the Central Division.

    Zucker was absolutely incredible tonight. He had a game-leading 8 shots on goal, 2 goals, an assist, and 2 hits. He’s tied with Parise and Niederreiter for team lead with 14 goals on the season.

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  • Losing Scandella, even for the short-term, would be really hard on this team. I can’t imagine Bickel as a viable replacement. Falk played pretty well, but there’s no candidate on this team or in Iowa that I can see sliding in to a 2nd pair role. Matt Dumba needs to stay in Iowa, plain and simple. I’m a Jon Blum advocate, but he’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

    The Minnesota Wild has a goaltending problem, something I think I’m in denial about. Kuemper’s game tonight was a tale of two halves. For the first 30 minutes, he was the Kuemperor; but he completely unraveled in the closing half of the game and let in some soft goals. It’s time to act on a goalie. I still think Scott Darling is a viable candidate.

    Wild is off until Thursday when they take on the mighty Chicago Blackhawks. Buckle in, kids. This skid might just turn in to a free fall. Talk to you Thursday unless there’s news.