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.

“I think they’ve drawn the most penalties in the league and they showed it tonight,” Pominville said.

The Wild, which has been outscored 14-4 and trailed 2-0 in each game during its 0-4-1 road slide, fell to 5-8-3 on the road and dropped to ninth in the West. It’s tied with Phoenix and Vancouver with 41 points, but the Coyotes have played three fewer games and the Canucks one fewer.

The Wild fell to 1-8 in its past nine visits to San Jose and 2-11-1 in its past 14. Niklas Backstrom fell to 1-9-1 all-time in San Jose.

Thursday morning, Yeo said it was time for somebody on the second line to “step up” and “grab that opportunity.”

Since Mikael Granlund’s concussion nine games ago, the Wild’s struggling second line has consisted of snakebit Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle and a series of wingers, from Dany Heatley to Pominville to Jason Zucker to, on Thursday, Fontaine.

Yeo scratched Zucker one game after calling him up and elevate Fontaine, who has no goals since Nov. 9, from the fourth line.

With the Wild actually off to a good start, Fontaine’s high-sticking minor led to Pavelski giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead 5:54 into the game. His shot from atop the left circle sailed by Backstrom through Patrick Marleau’s screen.

After the Wild killed off a Ryan Suter interference penalty, Fontaine took an offensive-zone holding penalty. Thirty seconds later, Cooke was tagged for tripping Joe Thornton.

That gave the Sharks a 90-second 5-on-3. The killed the two-man advantage, but with four seconds left in Cooke’s minor, Jonas Brodin’s giveaway resulted in Hertl’s power-play goal for a 2-0 San Jose lead.

To put the four power plays in 12:47 in perspective, the Wild has drawn three or fewer power plays in 14 of the past 15 games. The Sharks got seven power plays in the game; the most the Wild’s gotten this season is six, and that was once four games into the year.

The Wild drew two power plays on this night but couldn’t get one by Antti Niemi. During one crazy sequence late in the second period, the Wild pinned the Sharks in their zone for what seemed like an infinite stretch.

But it was aggravating to watch. Despite the Sharks breaking two sticks, despite the Sharks constantly failing to clear the zone, the Wild barely made Niemi make a save. It played on the perimeter, it fired pucks wide, it kept putting passes in teammate’s skates (a constant sight in this game).

By the time the Wild players got to the bench, Suter logged a 3:07 shift and Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Pominville and Jared Spurgeon all logged 2 ½-minute shifts.

“We make it hard on ourselves, but when you get into a hole like we did, it makes it tougher,” Yeo said.

Brodin scored his sixth goal with 7:24 left, but the Wild, outshot 39-29, couldn’t get any closer.

The Wild wraps up its three-game road trip Saturday at Colorado.

“We put ourselves in this position and now we have to get ourselves out. We’ll be fine,” Konopka said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 FINAL
Baltimore 20
Dallas 44 FINAL
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 FINAL
Houston 23
San Diego 7 FINAL
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 37 FINAL
Miami 24
Chicago 9 FINAL
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 34 FINAL
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 34 FINAL
Atlanta 3
Detroit 20 FINAL
Green Bay 30
Oakland 14 FINAL
Denver 47
Arizona 17 FINAL
San Francisco 20
St. Louis 6 FINAL
Seattle 20
Cincinnati 10 3rd Qtr 13:11
Pittsburgh 20
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
Detroit 103 FINAL
Cleveland 80
Houston 106 FINAL
San Antonio 110
Oklahoma City 107 FINAL
Dallas 112
New York 41 3rd Qtr
Portland 55
Toronto 60 3rd Qtr
Denver 54
Phoenix 37 2nd Qtr 7:57
LA Lakers 42
Toronto 4 FINAL
Florida 6
Vancouver 1 3rd Prd 10:57
Anaheim 1
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 46 FINAL
Arizona State 56
Longwood 64 FINAL
Ball State 69
Sacred Heart 76 FINAL
Brown 79
Colgate 64 FINAL
Columbia 69
MD-Eastern Shore 78 FINAL
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 50 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Marist 64 FINAL
Elon 69
Lafayette 76
Cincinnati Christian 58 FINAL
Liberty 78
Morgan State 53 FINAL
Marquette 81
Campbell 56 FINAL
Samford 65
Bucknell 71 FINAL
Siena 73
Long Beach State 67 FINAL
Syracuse 85
Coppin State 80 FINAL
Evansville 85
Indiana State 70
Hofstra 88 FINAL
Long Island 62
Coast Guard 48 FINAL
Army 93
Thomas (GA) 48 FINAL
High Point 85
Texas Southern 58 FINAL
Kansas State 56
Rutgers 59 FINAL
Monmouth 58
NC Wesleyan 54 FINAL
NC A&T 58
South Dakota St 63 FINAL
Northern Iowa 74
Central Penn College 69 FINAL
Radford 119
Bowling Green 79 FINAL
South Florida 70
Harris-Stowe 66 FINAL
SE Missouri St 94
Robert Morris-IL 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 104
Northland College 59 FINAL
North Dakota St 83
Milwaukee 60 FINAL
South Dakota 84
Northwestern St 92 FINAL
Arkansas 100
Saint Peters 59 FINAL
Cornell 52
St Katherine 62 FINAL
Fresno State 93
Haskell 42 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Richmond 63
Fla Gulf Coast 57 FINAL
Xavier 71
SD Christian 45 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Judson 46 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 80
Ill-Chicago 60 FINAL
Bradley 68
Loyola-Maryland 61 FINAL
Fairfield 59
Miss Valley St 53 FINAL
Houston 80
Lehigh 58 FINAL
Delaware State 56 FINAL
Temple 66
Belmont 56 FINAL
Butler 67
Howard 59 FINAL
Fordham 74
NW Christian 67 FINAL
Nevada 81
UC Davis 83 FINAL
Washington St 90
Abilene Christian 81 FINAL
Grand Canyon 83
Alabama 56
Stony Brook 62 FINAL
Washington 57
Buffalo 56 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
CS-Bakersfield 6 1st Half 15:26
California 3
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
St Francis-PA 59 FINAL
Pittsburgh 97
Milwaukee 72 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 78
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Longwood 63
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Bucknell 68 FINAL
Binghamton 57
Northeastern 70 FINAL
Albany 67
George Mason 70 FINAL
Towson 72
Richmond 59 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Tulane 60 FINAL
Cincinnati 50
North Florida 51 FINAL
Florida 63
(14) Georgia 51 FINAL
Seton Hall 70
Tennessee St 75 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 87
American Univ 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 78 FINAL
Boston U 57
Quinnipiac 69 FINAL
Saint Josephs 67
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Northwestern 61 FINAL
(20) Michigan State 57
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
George Washington 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Indiana 51
(24) Green Bay 66 FINAL
Dayton 72
Western Mich 55 FINAL
Stony Brook 59
Davidson 67 FINAL
Virginia 57
UNC Greensboro 61 FINAL
LSU 82
Denver 63 FINAL
North Texas 55
VA Commonwealth 63 FINAL
Coppin State 52
Huston-Tillotson 36 FINAL
Houston Baptist 86
Lamar 63 FINAL
Rice 97
Miss Valley St 40 FINAL
Alabama 71
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 49
Middle Tennessee 98 FINAL
Tenn Tech 76
Penn State 52 FINAL
(23) Iowa 77
Purdue 62 FINAL
Illinois 55
DePaul 99 FINAL
Illinois State 62
Sam Houston St 46 FINAL
Wichita State 70
South Dakota 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
(4) Notre Dame 82 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 51 FINAL
SC State 60
Alcorn State 53 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 63
Dartmouth 76 FINAL
Niagara 70
Colgate 68 FINAL
Siena 80
Michigan 53 FINAL
Wisconsin 63
Fla Gulf Coast 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 64
Yale 51 FINAL
(25) Arizona State 69
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
(16) Stanford 90
Long Island 63 FINAL
Long Beach St 71
Jackson State 56 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Eureka 50 FINAL
Western Ill 91
Cornell 59 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 76
Temple 48 2nd Half 3:46
Memphis 49
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question