There were a few moments in yesterday's Minnesota Wild game against the San Jose Sharks that could have qualified for the pivotal moment™. It could have been the penalty kill allowing a perfect seam for a cross-box pass that led to the Sharks opening goal. It could have been Mathew Dumba losing Joel Ward on the backcheck to allow the Sharks to take the lead 1:38 later. There was also Jason Pominville glued to his usual spot on the blue line on the power play missing out on an easy tap in goal off of a juicy Martin Jones rebound. Of course the Mikko Koivu faceoff loss, and subsequent perfect shot by Joe Pavelski may have been the easiest pick (nice little bit of interference run by Tomas Hertl on that faceoff).
In a game with that many glaring negatives, it becomes clear that the Wild really didn't have much in the way of fresh legs. And so that's why I think the largest contributor to yesterday's loss was simply being on the back-end of three games in four days, on arguably the toughest road trip of the season. It's easy for people to sit back and say these guys are professionals and should be ready to play no matter what, and that there is no excuse for lack of effort. While that is true, a fatigued team's best effort is still going to be hard-pressed to beat another quality, rested team.
It's an understatement to say the Wild have struggled in 2016, but they have not been dominated in a game like they were against the Sharks yesterday. The scoring chance numbers resemble those of a game that could have been lost 6-2.
The shot chart shows that the Sharks just lived in the home-plate area against Darcy Kuemper.
It's easy to get caught up in the black hole that has been 2016 for the Wild, but I think if not for the losses earlier in the month we would view this game (rightly so), as a tough end to a tough road trip, but not a surprising result whatsoever.