The Minnesota Wild were able to gain a 2 goal lead against the San Jose Sharks, but ultimately were not able to hold onto that lead as the Sharks came back with 2 quick goals in the middle of the 2nd period. It would take overtime to find a winner tonight and 3 and a half minutes into overtime Joe Thornton was able to get the game winner and his 2nd of the night as the Wild could not find a way to clear the defensive zone.
The Wild were dreadful in the faceoff dot tonight, winning just 18 of 59 from the dot. The fact that the Wild were able to get tonight's game into overtime despite only getting 30% of the draws is actually pretty remarkable. To get out of the Shark Tank with a point is better than most get. Although you can't be terribly happy with how the Wild have performed lately, at the end of the regular season it is points that get you into the playoffs and the Wild are finding ways to get those points.
Matt Cooke started off the scoring tonight when Joe Thornton threw an errant pass cross ice to his defender playing in support. The puck got past the defender and ricocheted off the sidewall and Cooke was able to pick it up behind the Sharks defense and deposit the puck behind Antti Niemi halfway through the 1st period.
Keith Ballard would put the Wild up by 2 in the 2nd period when he pinched into the circle and one-timed a nice pass from Mikael Granlund behind the net. This would be Ballard's 1st goal in a Wild jersey, coming just over 4 minutes into the 2nd frame.
The Wild were getting out-shot the whole game and after the Sharks were able to score 2 goals just 49 seconds apart from Thornton and Patrick Marleau in the middle of the 2nd period the Wild found themselves back to square one.
The Wild and their faceoff woes throughout the game left them chasing the puck a lot more than any team should. The 3rd period went by scoreless, though not without its chances. The Wild only managed to get 4 shots on goal in the 3rd to the Sharks 7 as both teams seemed content to play for the overtime point.
After the Wild shuffled the puck around their defensive zone for a while, finding it difficult to clear the puck out and move it up the ice, Thornton was able to gain control and fire a shot from Darcy Kuemper's right side that proved too much for the youngster and the Sharks were able to get the extra point in overtime.
The Wild's struggles in the circle ultimately cost them the extra point. You put yourself in a real tough spot when you can't gain control of the puck on a restart. Next up for the Wild is another late start at the Anaheim Ducks. Enjoy the fine weather boys, we'll try to have the State of Hockey thawed out by the time you get back.