nhl/wild.com photo: The Minnesota Wild’s Jared Spurgeon (46) nets the overtime game winner past San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (31) at Excel Energy Center in Minnesota
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks finished a four-game road trip Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild. The last time these teams played, in San Jose, the Sharks came back to tie the game and lost 4-3 in overtime. This time, the Wild made the comeback but the general result was the same. The Sharks initially took a 2-0 lead with goals from Joakim Ryan and Chris Tierney. The Wild answered with goals from Matt Cullen, Eric Staal and Jared Spurgeon. Wild goaltender Devin Dubnyk made 26 saves for the win, while Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 38 saves in a losing effort.
“Their game got better as the night went on, ours kind of went the other way a little bit,” said Sharks captain Joe Pavelski. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made a number of critical saves during the game, keeping it closer than it looked like it should be. After the game, the Jones said: “They forechecked us hard, we had a tough time getting out of our zone with any kind of possession. So you just end up kind of dumping it out and defending a lot.”
“We took some penalties, I didn’t think we broke out well. I thought lines got caught on long shifts. Had opportunities to change, and guys stayed out there longer than they should have. That usually leads to tired legs,” said Sharks forward Logan Couture.
Joakim Ryan scored at 14:00 of the first period. Barclay Goodrow carried the puck into the zone and quickly made a drop pass to Jannik Hansen. Hansen found Ryan through the skates of a Minnesota defender and Ryan didn’t waste time getting the shot away. It was Ryan’s third of the season.
Chris Tierney’s goal came from a two on one 2:28 into the second period. Kevin Labanc carried the puck in along the boards and found Tierney in the slot for a perfect shot to Dubnyk’s right. It was Tierney’s 15th goal of the season and his 10th on the road.
The Sharks held that two-goal lead until the final minute of the second period, when Jared Spurgeon carried the puck in from the red line and got a shot off just above the faceoff dot. Matt Cullen was coming in fast and was able to tip it perfectly over Jones’ shoulder. Assists went to Spurgeon and Marcus Foligno.
The Sharks maintained the one goal lead for most of the third period, but they were on their heels. They took two penalties to the Wild’s one and they were outshot 10-6. With just over five minutes left in regulation, Eric Staal scored with a quick wraparound shot. Assists went to Ryan Suter and Jason Zucker.
Jared Spurgeon’s overtime winner came after Brent Burns had trouble clearing the puck out of the zone. Spurgeon was right there to pick up the puck and pass it across the slot to Zucker. Martin Jones had to move across to cover Zucker but could not get back when Zucker passed the puck back to Spurgeon.
With about five minutes left in the third period, Chris Tierney left the game briefly, but he returned for overtime. Justin Braun was out with the flu and Tim Heed played with Brenden Dillon while Dylan DeMelo slotted in next to Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
The Sharks next play in San Jose against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday at 7:30 pm PT.