After center Eric Staal stuffed a puck between Sharks goalie Martin Jones’ right skate and the post, it looked like Wild might have sunk the Sharks – a team finishing off a back-to-back and now mired in a three-goal hole in the second period.
But a string of power plays kept San Jose afloat, helping the team chip away at its deficit until it tied it late in the third.
And although the Wild was ultimately able to persevere, pulling out a 4-3 win in overtime Sunday at SAP Center, the parade to the penalty box nearly cost the team.
“The resiliency is probably what catches my attention more than giving up the lead because it was two power-play goals and we’re killing penalty after penalty here, and we did face a barrage in the third period,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But I think we stuck with what we were supposed to do for the most part and came up positive.”
The Wild put the Sharks on the power play seven times, with defenseman Brent Burns capitalizing on two chances to make it 3-2. In the second period alone, the Wild committed four penalties – two of which came on the same play to give the Sharks a five-on-three look.
“We got certain guys that kill and when you’re constantly using them, it can get taxing,” Staal said.
With the Wild receiving only three power plays, the game was emblematic of a recent trend that has the team being shorthanded more often than it’s up a skater – a discrepancy that stung but didn’t completely derail the Wild against the Sharks.
“It’s kind of the way it fell,” Staal said. “I thought our pace was pretty good tonight. Usually when you have that, especially (against) a team (playing) back-to-back, it favors you. But tonight it didn’t. But we stuck with it.”
Here’s what else to watch for after the Wild’s overtime win over the Sharks.
- Outlasting the Sharks made the victory even more memorable for goalie Alex Stalock, whose 31 saves against his former team were essential to the Wild’s success.
This was Stalock’s first appearance against San Jose, and his insight on the team looked to help him early as he frustrated the Sharks’ offense before the group was ignited on the power play with two goals from Burns.
“I’d love to say I had a handle on them,” Stalock said. “But you can see Burnzie, the way he shoots the puck, guys like (Joe) Pavelski, (Logan) Couture, (Joe) Thornton. If I said I had a handle on them, I’d be lying. They’re all-world players.”
Although Stalock bobbled the game-tying goal, losing possession of the puck even though it looked like he had it covered, he was solid – an encouraging sign since his workload could increase with a busy schedule for the Wild leading up to the league-wide holiday break.
“Just the whole deal, playing your old team, I’d never done that and a lot of good friends,” Stalock said. “To get two points is pretty special.”
- Center Eric Staal was clutch in the offensive zone, scoring twice and assisting on another goal while coming close on a few occasions to burying a hat trick.
It was the second two-goal game of the season for Staal and seventh multi-point game.
“We need our big players to be big or we’re not going to succeed,” Boudreau said. “He played really good. Could have had a couple more I think.”
- The three-game road trip through California started off poorly, with the Wild falling apart in the third period to get upended 5-2 by the Kings.
But a pair of overtime wins over the Ducks and Sharks ensured the trip was a fruitful one for the Wild.
“We definitely played some really good hockey out here in California,” winger Nino Niederreiter said. “We just gotta make sure we bring that momentum with us, bring that confidence with us and take it game by game.”