The San Jose Sharks had the 4th best power play in the NHL coming into Thursday's action versus the Wild.
The Wild? Well at the least the penalty kill is the only redeemable quality of the special teams. Unfortunately, the ol' reliable, 2nd ranked PK cracked in the Wild's 2-1 loss at SAP Center.
Christian Folin was able to tie the game with a booming shot from the right point for his first career NHL goal. That goal seemed the spark him as he followed that up with a couple of solid shifts in the waning minutes of the game.
Brent Burns got the scoring started in the second period with a power play goal, and continues to dagger the Wild in both points against and leading some fans to think that the Sharks won that trade as well.
Even after the Wild tied the game, a defensive lapse 45 seconds later allowed Joe Thornton, who tied and passed Jean Beliveau on the all-time points list with two assists Thursday, a clear passing lane to Joe Pavelski for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal.
The story of the game was the play of both team's goaltenders. Darcy Kuemper did his best to keep his team in the game by making 28 saves on 30 shots.Kuemper was able to make a key save near the end of the second period that allowed the Wild the chance to tie the game early in the third. Thomas Vanek and Jared Spurgeon allowed Pavelski a lot of room for an open net shot.
However, it was Alex Stalock, as South St. Paul native and former University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog (If you didn't know, just ask Bruce Ciskie), got the start against his hometown team and played very well. He plays like the Sharks power play - very active, lots of movement, but always with a purpose and nothing wasted. Stalock made a couple big saves on a Thomas Vanek wrap-around try in the first period and on a Spurgeon shot late in the third with the net empty at the other end.
There was a lot of dumping and chasing for the Wild Thursday night, and the fact that they were 22 Corsi events behind after two periods was very indicative of the lack of overall puck possession by the hometown 20. The power play was 0-for-2 tonight and continue to struggle on the road in that department. The Wild had four 2-on-1s in the game and failed to get a shot on goal on any of them. I still claim that the Wild may be the worst team in the league at converting odd-man rushes because either there are too many passes, the initial pass is not handled by the receiver, or it's too slow that the back-checking forward can make a good defensive play.
Ultimately, the players failed to execute and the the onus is starting to shift onto their shoulders. Sure, Yeo can be criticized for a number of things, but the players need to actually perform on the ice.
The Wild now head to Glendale to take on the Arizona Coyotes and hope to find a win on the road.