The Wild and Sharks tangled in a matinee match in the Bay Area. Both teams traded jabs until it was Joe Pavelski that delivered the knock-out blow at 18:36 of the third period that left the Wild on the mat. The Wild was able to score on the power play for the second consecutive game and Jarret Stoll continued to be hot with the scoring stick. Ultimately, Minnesota fell 4-3 at SAP Center.
The first period began with a bang. Well, no actually, for the Sharks it did. Tomas Hertl scored just 1:33 into the game after Darcy Kuemper found himself a little too far out of his crease and couldn't get back in time for the wrap-around on the other side. It looked like it would be the same ol' Wild of the most recent five-game losing streak, but Minnesota did play better. Chris Porter scored his third of the season to tie the game at the 13 minute mark of the period. It helped the Wild continue with pressure.
Minnesota's first power play left much to the imagination, but the second try at it saw Charlie Coyle cash in by picking up the trash. The shot came in with Nino Niederreiter causing havoc in front, but the puck would pop out the other side for Coyle to pounce on. The Wild took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
The Wild should have taken the momentum from the first period into the second, but it would be the Sharks that would find the back of the net. After the Wild killed a Marco Scandella minor, Jared Spurgeon got tangled up with Logan Couture and hauled him down. Joonas Donskoi would score on the ensuing power play to tie the game. But the Sharks are also able to strike quickly, like mako sharks or something. Just 1:38 later, Joel Ward finished a missed odd-man rush opportunity to take the lead.
Darcy Kuemper, who shutout the Kings on Thursday night, was quite as good as he was in Los Angeles. Sure he made some great saves, but the Ward goal slid under his right pad. Pavelski 's goal later was a clean shot that beat him blocker side where there wasn't a ton of traffic in front of any kind of deflection. He kept the team in the game in the first period after giving up the early goal, but Kuemper should have been able to out-duel Martin Jones and he didn't.
The third period was mostly listless for the Wild. It felt like the five game losing streak wrapped up in one period. Players were making bad passes, bad decision, and not shooting. Minnesota got a power play really early in the period with a chance to tie the game at three, got just two shots on goal, and the two weren't anything that you could say that challenged Jones. The power play returned to the non-aggressive nature that plagued it since the start of the new year. Jason Pominville could have had the game-tying goal had he been more aggressive in going to the net with the puck already being worked down low. Instead, the puck was harmlessly blocked away and cleared.
Jarret Stoll, who is on a roll, scored at the 12:10 mark to tie the game and give the Wild some life in the period. After that, the Wild seemed like it had a bit more jump and came close to getting the go-ahead goal. But that was until Mikko Koivu lost a defensive zone face-off cleanly to Joe Thornton. the puck ended up right on Pavelski's stick and he didn't waste any time before depositing the puck past Kuemper. Mike Yeo pulled Kuemper for the extra attacker with 1:30 left, and placed Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Suter, and had Thomas Vanek and Jarret Stoll swap in and out in the final minute.
Wild lose and will now head home for one final game before the All-Star Break against the Pacific's 4th place team Arizona Coyotes.