Minnesota Wild vs San Jose Sharks: Game Re-Cap

Minnesota Wild 3 - 4 San Jose Sharks

For San Jose gloating perspective, please visit Fear The Fin.

Avoid the system. That is the lesson tonight. Just days after Russo wrote about how the players were buying into the system, they gave up on it tonight. While the forecheck for the Wild was soft, the defensive play was so soft and fluffy it could help a meth addict sleep. 

Twenty three shots against in the second period. That's not a second period nap, that's just flat out comatose. The keys to victory from the game thread were: hard forecheck, solid defense, protect the goalie. The Wild did none of these, and thus the result is easy to explain. 

Three players came to play tonight. Mikko Koivu, Brent Burns, and Niklas Backstrom. How many times have you ever seen three guys beat an entire NHL roster not named the Oilers? Not many, I am guessing. Once again, the leaders were there, it is the role players that just couldn't get it done.

Koivu with two goals, a leader on the ice once again. Burns had a goal late in the game in which he was simply on a mission. Active deep, he got his shot and he finished it. Didn't want to be left out of the team lead for goals for too long, I guess. Add that to his two assists, and he had a great night. Backstrom... what can you say? He got sold out by his team. Forty two shots against? Really? Some highlight reel saves, but he just couldn't steal this one.

Give it to the Sharks, they played a hell of a game. Fire the puck, charge the net, get the rebounds. Antti Niemi was soft tonight, coughing up some juicy rebounds, and the Wild just could not get it done. Sharks protected their goalie well, and the Wild had to be creative to get their goals. The Sharks played their game, in their building and won the game clean.

Well, mostly.

I am not complaining about the refs tonight. For the most part, they did their jobs. However, late in the third, Martin Havlat gets cross checked in the face, and punched in the back of the head not five feet from referee Brad Meier. Any call? No. But Meier did point at Demers and yell at him. You know, according to rule 15.1, the penalty for punching an opposing player in the head, and cross checking him in the face is to simply admonish him in front of his friends.

Not that a power play would have made any difference, but still. You're a referee, there is a penalty you obviously saw. Call it, will you, please? Of course, they get direction from Colin Campbell, so consistency is not going to be a strength.

Notes:

Nick Schultz left the game early in the second period. Russo said he saw the doc holding up fingers in front of him. Schultz did not return to the game, due to "upper body injury."

Hockey Wilderness Three Stars

1. Devin Setoguchi (2G)
2. Brent Burns (1G, 2A, 26:58 TOI)
3. Mikko Koivu (2G)

Five Questions

  1. Out of action for a couple days, and in Cali, can the Wild come out hard and fast? No. Just... no.
  2. Brent Burns is a man among boys. Can he dominate again? Indeed he can. Wish the rest of the team cared like he did.
  3. Backstrom looked phenomenal in his return, does that continue? He looked good. No support, though.
  4. Can the Wild shut down the Sharks' big three? Three points, so... no.
  5. Heater doesn't really need to drive anywhere. Does someone die, anyway? No reports of death. Though, the night is young.

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