Road woes continue for Wild in loss at San Jose

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 13, 2013 - 9:02 AM

The Sharks took advantage with three power-play goals in the first two periods, two of them from Joe Pavelski.

 

– The Wild has played itself out of the top-8 in the Western Conference for the first time since Nov. 1.

It has its play outside of Minnesota to blame.

The Wild, a completely different team on the road compared to at home, was en route to its fifth consecutive road loss mere minutes into Thursday’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

The problems prior to Thursday have been a lack of execution, turnovers and soft plays in the offensive zone.

Thursday a new wrinkle occurred. The Wild paraded to the penalty box and the Sharks capitalized with three power-play goals on seven chances to send the Wild off into the chilly North California night reeling after a 3-1 loss at the Shark Tank.

“It must be nice to draw penalties like that,” coach Mike Yeo said, sarcastically, “when the other team goes stick on puck and you kind of hold your head.”

Yeo was referring to Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart, who whipped his head back like he was shot when checked by Justin Fontaine in the first period. Yeo felt replays showed Fontaine’s stick was at Stuart’s waist.

“To me that’s embarrassing,” Yeo said. “I don’t know. I guess we’ve got to ask our players to embellish more.”

Joe Pavelski scored the first of his two power-play goals on the Fontaine minor. It was the eighth consecutive road game the Wild surrendered the first goal. The Wild took four penalties in the first 12:47 of the game, with the Sharks getting a 90-second 5-on-3 on back-to-back holding and tripping minors by Fontaine and Matt Cooke.

With four seconds left in Cooke’s minor, Tomas Hertl scored.

The shame of the night was, the Wild outplayed the Sharks at even-strength. Jason Pominville felt it was “night and day” compared to Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Anaheim. The Wild outshot San Jose 26-20 at even-strength.

“Our guys battled hard tonight and we didn’t do enough,” Yeo said. “We were obviously in the box too much, we didn’t finish well enough, penalty kill. It doesn’t matter how many times they dive, we’ve got to make sure we kill them off -- or embellish, I shouldn’t say just dive, but there were things bigger picture I thought we were much better with.”

The back-breaker goal in the second came off indisputably a bad call by referee Marc Joannette.

Wild center Zenon Konopka was nailed for a double-minor high-stick even though his lumber didn’t come close to hitting defenseman Jason Demers. It was actually Sharks center Freddie Hamilton who clipped his teammate.

Yeo said the referee “just shrugged.”

“I told him it was not my stick. It’s their stick,” Konopka said. “I told him, ‘You’re making the wrong call. It wasn’t my stick.’ Of course they score on it.”

The Wild fell behind 3-0 on Pavelski’s second of the game. At that point, the Sharks were outshooting the Wild 26-12 with 18 of their shots coming on six power plays.

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  • Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, right, of Finland, is beaten for a goal on a shot by San Jose Sharks' Joe Pavelski as Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) and Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon watch during the first period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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