Minnesota Wild center Victor Rask (49) tries to get control of the puck against San Jose Sharks center Noah Gregor (73) in the first period at the SAP Center in San Jose on Thu Dec 9, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE– The Sharks fell 5-2 to the Minnesota Wild Thursday. It was the Wild’s eight win in a row. Wild goals were scored by Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jordan Greenway (2) and Kirill Kaprizov. Cam Talbot made 33 saves for the win. Sharks goals were scored by Jonathan Dahlen and Tomas Hertl. Adin Hill made 22 saves in the loss.
To start the third period, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner juggled his lines a bit. The result was positive but not enough, as he explained after the game:
“We switched up the lines a little bit, sometimes it’s good to put them in the blender when things aren’t going your way. We did that and the team reacted but, it’s just, you know, it’s a good team and in order to beat those good teams you have to be good for sixty minutes, especially our team and it I think that it took too long to find our game tonight.”
Minnesota’s Kevin Fiala scored the lone goal of the first period, 6:22 in. Jon Merrill’s shot was blocked by Mario Ferraro right in front of the net. The puck dropped in front of an open net for Fiala’s shot. Assists went to Merrill and Brandon Duhaime.
Joel Eriksson Ek scored the the Wild’s first power play goal at 7:04 of the second period. Jacob Middleton was in the box for tripping Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello sent the puck into a crowd in front of the net and it went off of Eriksson Ek’s stick for a perfect deflection past Hill. Assists went to Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov.
Jordan Greenway scored Minnesota’s second power play goal at 15:20. Jacob Middleton was in the box for holding Nick Bjugstad. Kevin Fiala brought the puck into the slot, then made a pass out to Greenway in the face-off circle. Greenway took a quick shot and beat Hill on the far side. Assists went to Fiala and Alex Goligoski.
Jonathan Dahlen scored for San Jose 3:29 into the third period. Tomas Hertl won an offensive zone face-off and sent the puck up to Erik Karlsson at the point. Karlsson brought the puck down the boards a bit before taking a shot that went off of Dahlen in front of the net. Assists went to Karlsson and Hertl.
Tomas Hertl cut the Wild lead to one with a power play goal at 13:26. Jonathan Dahlen took a shot that created a rebound. The puck fell to Hertl at the side of the net and he lifted it in behind Talbot. Jonathan Dahlen and Logan Couture got the assists.
The Sharks pulled Adin Hill for the extra skater with more than to minutes left. The Wild got the puck out and Jordan Greenway raced Brent Burns for the puck. As they reached the net, Greenway was able to nudge the puck in to make it 4-2. Moments later, with the net still empty, Kirill Kaprizov broke away to make it 5-2.
The Sharks had a good night in the face-off circle, winning 57% of them. The shots were close in the first to periods, but in the third, the Sharks outshot the Wild 19-9. the Sharks penalty kill gave up four shots along with the two goals, and the Wild penalty kill gave up four shots and one goal. Jacob Middleton took three penalties in the game.
The Sharks next play on Saturday at 7:30 PM PT, against the visiting Dallas Stars.