As Mike Yeo said after a 3-1 loss here at HP Pavilion tonight, the Wild played a game of chance in Calgary the other night and survived by going 7 for 7 on the penalty kill.
It tried to play a game of chance again here tonight, but this is San Jose -- a team with the best home power play, not the worst (like the Flames). Patrick Marleau scored two power-play goals, the Wild was toast as its five-game win streak ended. A win would have put the Wild in first in the Northwest for the first time since Dec. 2008.
Simply, the Wild needs to stop taking penalties. To do that, it needs to stop spending so much time hemmed in the defensive end and start getting to the offensive zone and staying there. You stay in your own zone, you get tired, stop moving your feet, start reaching and ... march to the box.
Dany Heatley said the Wild gave "em" the game with turnovers, penalties and a poor power play.
The unfortunate thing is when the Wild didn't take penalties, at least in the first period, it was the better team, at least in the first period. 5-on-5, the Wild was solid in the first period and gave the Sharks one shot in a 15-minute stretch at one point. But it took three penalties in the first 8:19 of the game.
The Wild killed those, but early in the second, a bad exchange between Niklas Backstrom and Justin Falk resulted in an easy Marleau goal. Backstrom took the blame, saying he was too eager to get the puck after giving up a rebound.
Later, Marco Scandella, who was whistled in the first period for playing with an illegal stick (he was handing his stick to a stickless Backstrom just as Colton Gillies was handing Scandella his stick, meaning he had two), took a tripping penalty after he lost the puck. Was a phantom call according to the Twitterverse, but Scandella turned the puck over, then reached. You put yourself in that position, refs will nail ya. He got nailed, and Brent Burns drew the penalty kill's attention before Ryane Clowe set up Marleau's second.
Guillaume Latendresse missed the third period with an undisclosed injury as of now. We'll find out more Friday. Coach Mike Yeo said he didn't know what it was, but he didn't think it was serious.
I'll update the blog after practice.
Also, in other news, I've gotten a lot of emails if the Wild petitioned the league to rescind Nick Johnson's game misconduct the other night off his record. GM Chuck Fletcher did, but he talked to Colie Campbell, and there's nothing to rescind. Johnson got a match penalty, and if you're not suspended, it just sort of goes away -- other than the penalty minutes of course.
So if you have Nick Johnson on your fantasy team, Mazel Tov!
Talk to you Friday from LA.