Did the Wild take a step back tonight? That depends if it's able to rebound Tuesday in Chicago.
The Wild was outgunned and outskated by the Sharks, who won their fourth in a row with a 4-3 win over Minnesota. The Wild was outshot 42-26, and in almost a carbon-copy second period to San Jose's middle period in Vancouver two nights prior, the Sharks completely dominated a 25-shot period.
It tied San Jose's team record for most shots in a period and coincidentally tied the Wild record for most shots allowed in a period.
Goalie Niklas Backstrom was under attack and said this was the Wild's worst game in six or seven weeks. He made some unbelievable saves to give the Wild a shot. It didn't help that the Wild was down to five defensemen for the final 34 minutes -- and in reality, longer -- because coach Todd Richards said defenseman Nick Schultz was actually injured in the first period and finally had to stop playing.
The Wild's already without defensemen Marek Zidlicky and Marco Scandella. Now it sounds like Schultz suffered his second head injury in one month.
Very early in the game, he was absolutely rocked straight on by Jamal Mayers, and I'm thinking that was the incident.
Remember, Schultz was elbowed in the head by Calgary's Tom Kostopoulos on Dec. 18. He missed three games but was back nine days later. Schultz missed the final three games of the 2008-09 season with a concussion.
The Wild will have to call up a defenseman from Houston on Sunday or Monday morning to play in Tuesday's game at Chicago.
I'd think it would want a defensive defenseman and one with experience in such a fast game before the break. That could mean Justin Falk or physical, fighting Drew Bagnall, who had such a good training camp, he came to Finland with the team. Nate Prosser's down there. I don't see Max Noreau because of the role the Wild will be looking for, and I don't see Tyler Cuma making his NHL debut.
We'll find out.
Mikko Koivu registered his second career two power-play goal game and Brent Burns scored his 14th goal with 3:25 left, but that would be all she wrote.
The winning goal was kinda fluky. Benn Ferriero misses the net by 25 feet, the puck rims around the glass and Joe Thornton flies in to save it at the blue line and set up Ferriero's goal.
Third goal was a bit controversial, another high-stick question, which has been an NHL trend lately. Backstrom said the ref in the corner called it a good goal and the linesman swooped in and said Devin Setoguchi scored with a high-stick. They went to review, but since the call on the ice was good goal, Toronto didn't find the evidence to overturn it. It was close.
But, like I said, and my follow in Monday's paper will say, the Wild was just exposed again by a fast team. Same thing happened a few weeks ago by Nashville. This was also a physical game and some guys don't play well in those games. I shouldn't pick on one guy in a game like this where there were a number of players exposed, but Antti Miettinen was dodging checks left and right and turning pucks over left and right. The Wild needs him to be better. He has one goal in 18 games since Dec. 4.
Because the game story didn't make most editions, I'll write a follow for Monday's paper with a bunch of postgame reaction.
Wild could have moved to 8th with a win. Instead it's back down to 10th, 2 points behind 8th-place San Jose.
OK, that's it for me. The Wild's traveling to Chicago Sunday. Kent is covering that game, but if there's news on a callup, I'll touch up the blog. Have a good Sunday.