Minnesota Wild 2 - 3 San Jose Sharks
For the enemy perspective, please visit Fear The Fin
So welcome back home Nathan. After a week away surrounded by warm weather, friendly skies, hipsters and online celebrities I come home to a team decimated, then they come out and do this? And I have to wait until midnight to recap it? Thanks guys. Seriously.
Anyway, onto the game.
On paper, this game looks like it should have been a blowout. You don't give up 50 shots to a team with the offensive weapons the Sharks have and live to tell the tale, but Niklas Backstrom kept his team in it with a 47 save effort. Were it not for a freak bounce off Brent Burns' leg after a Niklas Backstrom save on Patrick Marleau's game winning goal, we're looking at a 2-2 tie heading to overtime. After both of the first two Sharks goals, the Wild bounced back, didn't give up, and quickly tied the game again. After Jamal Mayers opened the scoring at 11:29 of the first, the Wild could have easily found themselves on the wrong end of a blowout as Clayton Stoner took a minor for holding the stick, but there was John Madden, pouncing on a short-handed chance and tying the game at one just 2:24 later. Then 1:50 after Logan Couture put the Sharks up 2-1, Kyle Brodziak continued his good season and chemistry with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Martin Havlat as the line produced another tying goal. But the Sharks would just pour on the pressure at the end of the second and all of the third with 37 shots in the final two frames. It was just too much for the Wild, and when the puck deflected past Backstrom off Burns' leg, that was all she wrote.
After the 3-2 loss to the Sharks, coach Todd Richards said "I think we have the guys to make the playoffs". So Todd, if that's the case, and you're not making the playoffs, does that mean you don't have the coaching staff to make the playoffs? I mean something has to be wrong for this team to be looking in from the outside of the post-season, right? If you say it's not the personnel, then it has to be you, right?
Honestly, I don't think it's all on Richards. I don't think they have the personnel to make the playoffs, let alone make a run once in. Sure, it's bad when the captain is out for an extended period of time, along with one of the top four defensemen, but the fact is that these guys didn't suffer badly with Mikko Koivu and Marek Zidlicky out. Yes, missing Guillaume Latendresse all season hurt, but they were in position two weeks ago to make the playoffs without him.
So coach, which is it? The players or the coaching?
Hockey Wilderness 3 stars:
Joe Pavelski (2 A)
- Kyle Brodziak (1 G)
- Patrick Marleau (1 G)
- 9:30 start for a team pretty much dead and buried. Will anyone watch and comment? Gotta admit, more action in the comment section of the game thread than I was expecting. Good on you folks.
- How will the Sharks react to missing Heatley? Three goals on 50 shots. He likely would have made things worse for the Wild, but the Sharks still put up 50 shots without Heater. Impressive.
- Will Mikko Koivu have a huge impact again tonight? 0 points, -1, 4 shots on goal, 19:32 TOI. Not horrible, but needed to make his impact felt on the scoresheet.
- Goaltending has been a concern for the last two weeks. Will that trend continue? Backstrom looked great tonight with 47 saves, and wouldn't have given up the third goal had it not deflected in off Burns' leg after the initial save
- Can the Sharks put the Wild out of their misery? Yes. That's the nail in the coffin.