Sharks Collapse in 3rd Period, Fall to Wild 5-4; Wild Man Koivu gets the gamer

January 6, 2017

NHL

Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu celebrates after scoring San Jose Sharks during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. Minnesota won 5-4. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Jerry Feitelberg

SAN JOSE–For two periods, the San Jose Sharks were getting the better of the team with the second-most points in the Western Conference, but a momentary lapse of urgency proved their undoing. Despite leading 4-2 into the third period at the SAP Center Wednesday night against the Minnesota Wild, the Sharks found themselves 5-4 losers. Minnesota scored 3 unanswered goals to storm back and stun San Jose.

Mikko Koivu and Eric Staal had two goals each for the Wild while Joonas Donskoi, Joe Pavelski, Joel Ward and Patrick Marleau all scored for the Sharks. Vezina front-runner Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves while Martin Jones made 21 for the home team.

The two teams battled to standstill in the opening 20 minutes before San Jose broke the game open 8:22 into the second. Kevin Labanc and Brenden Dillon rushed the puck up ice down the left wing, opening the right side for Joonas Donskoi. Labanc fed the Finn for the one timer, with Donskoi beating Dubnyk glove-side high for a 1-0 lead.

Joe Pavelski netted his 13th of the year on a goalmouth tip just 3 minutes later. Pavelski tipped a shot from Brent Burns, with Logan Couture picking up the secondary assist on the strike.

The Wild responded in the waning moments of the period, scoring the game’s only power play goal with 1:06 left till the second intermission. Zach Parise picked up his first of three points by dropping the pass off to Staal as he entered the offensive zone. Staal ripped a shot that beat Jones low to the left to make it 2-1 in favor of San Jose.

Parise would add another goal 2:08 into the third after the Sharks failed to clear the puck out of their own end on a dump in. The original shot from Nino Niederreiter bounced off Jones’ pads to Parise for the rebound goal. Staal also picked up an assist, joining Parise with a three-point night.

Joel Ward put San Jose ahead 1:41 later, scoring just outside of the crease on a failing rebound chance. The struggling Ward scored his first goal since November 23rd and third of the season, with Burns again being the creator of offense with a point shot.

Patrick assisted on Ward’s goal, then etched his name further into history by scoring his 492nd NHL goal 32 seconds later. With his 11th strike of the year, Marleau now sits in 46th place all-time in goals, passing Jean Ratelle.

Neither Ward nor Marleau wound up with the game winner though, with Staal starting the wild comeback 45 seconds after Marleau’s marker. Parise stripped Justin Braun of the puck then fed Staal for his 13th goal of the year and second of the game.

The final two goals would come on the same shift for Minnesota. Mikko Koivu beat Jones on a rebound of an up-ice rush at the 8:23 mark, then netted the game winner 9:42 left in the game. Linemates Mikael Grandlund and Jason Zucker assisted on both goals.

The Sharks next take the ice Saturday night, facing the Detroit Red Wings at the SAP center.

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