The last time the Minnesota Wild won a game was way back on March 10th against the Florida Panthers by the tune of 7-4. The last time the San Jose Sharks won a game was March 14th against the Buffalo Sabres, a 4-1 victory for the sharp tooth water monsters. The Wild had lost 5 in a row, while the Sharks had lost 3 in a row. One of these streak had to come to an end tonight, and fortunately for Wild fans, it was Minnesota who would emerge victorious.
The first period the Wild showed some real dominance over the Sharks, as they had in these teams previous meeting. The Wild would allow the Sharks just 5 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes of the game. Chris Stewart would start his game off by dropping the gloves with Micheal Haley of the Sharks. This tilt went decidedly in Stewart’s favor, although I think both teams were looking to draw a little energy from a scrap early in this game.
It would be the Wild who would get the scoring started on the evening halfway through the first period and on the power play. Matt Dumba would slide through the left circle to support some board play when the puck kicked out to him. Puck on his stick, Dumba streaked back toward the slot and flicked an unchallenged wrister past Martin Jones on the short side. Quite the snipe for a kid whose bread and butter has been a cannon of a slap shot from the point. Silky skill from the young defensemen.
From there the game would fall into a bit of a lull. While the Wild maintained their solid defensive effort to finish off the period. The Sharks you could feel had started to slowly build up some momentum as time drew on. Fortunately for the Wild, Devan Dubnyk seemed to be coming around after starting the period a little slow. One Sharks opportunity in particular stuck out. Patrick Marleau attempted a wrap-around shot and Dubs seemed just a tad late in getting there, although he was still able to make the save. Again later in the 2nd period Dubnyk would misplay the puck behind the net which led to a goal for the Sharks. Overall a much better performance for the Dubs, but he did have his moments that left you wondering.
The Sharks would continue to gain the momentum through the 2nd period which was by far their best period of the game. They were able to label 13 shots on goal in the 2nd, which lent its way to a flurry of goals to finish the 2nd period. It would take nearly 18 minutes in the 2nd to start the scoring, but the flood gates opened wide when they did. David Schlemko would tie the game for the Sharks at the 17:57 mark. 33 seconds later Martin Hanzal would get his first goal in a Minnesota Wild uniform to retake the lead. 15 seconds after that, Charlie Coyle would score after a huge effort from Zach Parise and a great screen from Eric Staal. 15 seconds after that, Marleau would score and bring the Sharks back within 1. 4 goals in 1:03 of game time and we were all wondering if the scoring was ever going to stop.
Of course, the period ended with the Wild on top 3-2, and that is how the game would end as well. The Wild got back to some solid defense, only allowing 5 shots on goal once again in the 3rd period. It’s not that the Sharks didn’t have possession of the puck. The Wild were only able to muster up 4 shots on goal themselves in the final frame as neither team looked like they wanted to make the big mistake that might cost their squad the game.
It’s great to be back on the winning side of things. To top it off, the Chicago Blackhawks lost tonight, but in true Blackhawk fashion they were able to mount a huge comeback and at least get a overtime loser point out of the Vancouver Canucks. The Wild’s 94 points are now just 6 behind the Hawks. Hawks have 9 games remaining, the Wild have 10 left on their schedule. A tall task if winning the division is the goal. The Wild should really just be concerned with their next big step, clinching a spot in the show, which they can do with a win on Thursday or if the Los Angeles Kings lose in regulation the same evening.
Next up for your Minnesota Wild we welcome the reeling Philadelphia Flyers who lost tonight 3-2 against the Winnipeg Jets, and have lost 5 of their past 7 games overall. As mentioned, that game will be Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Until then Wild fans, thanks for reading, and if you follow us on twitter, thanks for putting up with the husky dog show during the intermissions tonight.