Sharks Lose 6-3 to Wild; Skid extends to 8 games

Minnesota Wild left wing Marcus Foligno (17) puts the puck past San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones (31) in the first period at SAP Center in San Jose (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks celebrated Patrick Marleau’s new record in NHL games played Saturday. It was the team’s first game at home since Marleau played his 1768th NHL game, surpassing Gordie Howe’s record, in Las Vegas last Monday. Family members were able to attend the game for the occasion. The Sharks all wore Marleau Jerseys for warm-ups. A pantheon of Sharks and NHL players and alumni spoke in a video presentation before the game. The only thing missing was an arena full of fans.

The Minnesota Wild won the game 6-3. Ryan Suter, Marcus Foligno, Jared Spurgeon, Kevin Fiala, Kirill Kaprizov and Nick Bonino all scored for the Wild. Kaapo Kahkonen made 27 saves for the win. Logan Couture, Evander Kane and Joachim Blichfeld scored for San Jose. It was Blichfeld’s first NHL goal. Josef Korenar made 15 saves during the second two periods, while Martin Jones made five in the first period. The win clinched a spot in the playoffs for the Wild. The loss was San Jose’s eighth in a row.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said: “The start was a disaster, right from the first shift, the first goal.” Boughner pointed out that there were several “new guys” in the lineup and this may have accounted for missed coverage and other errors during the game. He went on to say: “It’s no secret, you know, look at their lineup, look at our lineup, and, you know, we’re missing a little depth there. And you know, it got us early, let’s be honest, you know, second and third goal, that’s where it got us.”

The Sharks did have some unfamiliar faces on the bench Saturday. Greg Pateryn joined the defense in the absence of injured Radim Simek. It was his first game in teal since coming over from the Colorado Avalanche. He was on the ice for one goal against and one goal for the Sharks. Joachim Blichfeld was in the lineup for his sixth NHL game. He was also on the ice for one goal against and one goal for, which he scored. Neither player seemed to have an out-sized impact on the game. There were plenty of errors to go around.

As Boughner mentioned, the game did not start well for San Jose. Just 19 seconds in, Ryan Suter scored his second goal of the year, on the first shot of the game. Suter skated in with the puck and took a shot from the face-off circle. It whizzed by Martin Jones’s shoulder. An assist went to Jordan Greenway.

Moments later, Timo Meier collided with Kirill Kaprizov, Meier went to the bench but returned to play without missing much time.

Marcus Foligno added another 12 minutes into the first. Joel Eriksson-Ek carried the puck in in a two-on-one with Foligno. Eriksson-Ek made a pass at the last moment for Foligno the take the shot.

Jared Spurgeon made it 3-0 at 17:43 of the first. Spurgeon got by the Sharks defense and took a shot into the far corner. Ryan Hartman and Mats Zuccarello got the assists.

That first period saw the Wild out-shoot the Sharks 8-4. There was just one penalty called, a too many men on the ice call against San Jose. The Sharks penalty kill gave up no shots.

Josef Korenar was in the Sharks net to start the second period.

The score did not change again until the final minute of the middle frame. Marcus Johansson took a shot from the boards and created a rebound. Kevin Fiala was at the net to knock the bouncing puck in. Assists went to Johansson and Jared Spurgeon.

There were no penalties in the second period, and the Sharks led in shots 13-7.

Logan Couture got the Sharks on the board 1:19 into the third period. Couture passed the puck to Timo Meier as the skated to the net. Just as his pass got away, Couture was knocked down. As he slid, face-first, to the net, Meier’s rebound landed in front of him. He swept it into the net. Assists went to Meier and Rudolfs Balcers.

Kirill Kaprizov scored a power play goal to make it 5-1 at 4:28. Fiala swept the puck off the boards to the slot, where Kaprizov was ready for the shot. Assists went to Fiala and Nick Bonino.

Evander Kane scored for the Sharks at 4:47, when Nikolai Knyzhov took a shot from the blue line. Tomas Hertl knocked it out of the air and Kane cleaned it up for his 18th of the season.

Joachim Blichfeld scored his first NHL goal at 6:06. He took the shot from below the face-off dot. The puck went over Kahkonen’s glove and into the top corner.

Nick Bonino scored into an empty net at 19:38. An assist went to Ian Cole.

The Sharks took two penalties in the third period. The Wild’s power play got one shot on net during the period.

The Sharks next play on Monday against the Arizona Coyotes in San Jose at 7:30 PM PT.

Marleau Ties Howe Record, Sharks Fall 5-2 to Wild

The Minnesota Wild center Nico Sturm gets the wrap around the goal post to score a second period goal against the San Jose Sharks on Sat Apr 17, 2021 at the Target Center in St Paul (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

Patrick Marleau tied Gordie Howe’s record of 1,767 NHL Games Played record in St. Paul on Saturday. The Minnesota Wild made a special announcement for the occasion and, on the ice, the Minnesota players congratulated Marleau. It was a tremendous accomplishment, well-worth celebrating, but somewhat at odds with the loss Marleau’s team suffered the same night.

The 5-2 loss to the Wild was the Sharks’ fifth loss in a row. The Wild got goals from Mats Zuccarello, Joel Ericksson Ek, Zach Parise, Kirill Kaprizov and Nico Sturm. Three of those goals were scored in 72 seconds. Kaapo Kahkonen made 26 saves for the win. Brent Burns and Joel Kellman scored for the Sharks. In the Sharks net, Martin Jones made 19 saves before being replaced by Josef Korenar, who made 4 saves in the third period.

After the game, Marleau talked about reaching this milestone in the midst of a losing streak: “Obviously you want things to be going well, you want your team to be winning, all the time, regardless of milestones or not. Be nice to get back on track, get in the winning books, and feeling good about ourselves as a club.”

Sharks defenseman Brent Burns talked about Marleau’s accomplishment:

“I think at this point to play a game like that any night, obviously what he’s doing is special and, you know, it’s beyond one game. So tonight’s obviously big for him, it’s big for all of us to be a part of something like that. It’s incredible, it’s bigger than one game.”

Brent Burns started the scoring with a blast from the point that beat Kahkonen glove side at 12:02. Assists went to Rudolfs Balcers and Tomas Hertl.

A little over two minutes later, Zuccarello scored a power play goal. Marcus Johansson made a back-hand pass form below the goal line for Zuccarello to tap in. Assists went to Johansson and Ryan Hartman.

36 seconds later, Martin Jones knocked Jordan Greenway’s shot away but it went off of Joel Ericksson Ek’s chest and into the net. Assists went to Greenway and Marcus Foligno.

36 seconds after that, Zach Parise made it 3-1 with a shot off the rush that beat Jones on the blocker side. Assists went to Jonas Brodin and Nick Bonino.

Minnesota out-shot the Sharks 17-9 in the first period. The Wild had 7 shots on 3 power plays, including some five-on-three time at the end of the period. The Sharks had no power play time in the first.

Kirill Kaprizov made it 4-1 1:14 into the second period with a goal in the final second of a power play. Mats Zuccarello made a pass from the boards to the slot. The pass went through Kevin Fiala who took a swing at it and missed. That gave Jones and the defense pause, before the puck landed on Kaprizov’s stick for the real shot.

Nico Sturm made it 5-1 at 19:11 of the second. Jones was down on the side of the net when Sturm went for the wrap-around on the other side. Carson Soucy got the assist.

It looked as if Sturm and Jones locked skates for a moment before the goal, but the challenge was unsuccessful.

San Jose out-shot Minnesota 8-7 in the second. The Sharks took one penalty in the second period, the unsuccessful challenge of the Sturm goal. The Wild had one shot on that power play.

Joel Kellman scored for San Jose at 17:45 of the third. Labanc made a tidy pass from below the goal line, jus as Kellman arrived in the slot. Assists went to Kevin Labanc and Ryan Donato. It was Kellman’s first of the season, in his fifth NHL game of the season.

Minnesota took two penalties in the third period, giving the Sharks power play one shot on goal. The Sharks out-shot the Wild 11-4 in the final period.

The Sharks next play on Monday against the Golden Knights in Las Vegas at 7:00 PM PT.

Sharks Tame Wild 4-2

The Minnesota Wild forward Nico Sturm (7) tries to reach for the puck as the San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) and defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) defend during Wed Mar 31, 2021 at SAP Center in San Jose (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 in San Jose Wednesday. Rudolfs Balcers, Ryan Donato, Nikolai Knyzhov and Evander Kane Scored for the Sharks, while Martin Jones made 26 saves for the win. The Sharks defense generated five points in the game. Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello scored for the Wild, and Kaapo Kahkonen made 29 saves in the loss.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner talked about the Sharks defensive game:

“I liked how aggressive we were in the d-zone, jump in and check. We didn’t give much, you know, we blocked shots. I thought we were really physical tonight, you know, and yeah, we played a lot in the o-zone. That is the blueprint for how we want to play on most nights and every night.”

Sharks Captain Logan Couture talked about what they need to do to carry this success forward:

“We’ve just got to keep playing the way we are. I thought we defended pretty hard and we created a lot of offense. We could have had more than the three we scored, or the fourth with the empty-netter, but a lot of good looks, I think our game’s in a good spot right now.”

In a scoreless first period, the teams each got credit for 10 shots. Evander Kane took three of those shots for the Sharks. Each team had one power play. The Wild had one shot on their power play and the Sharks had two on theirs. The Wild won 60% of the first period face-offs.

The Sharks got the scoring started in the second period, at 4:41. Rudolfs Balcers caught a pass from Tomas Hertl just as he arrived in front of the blue paint. He did not slow down as he stopped the puck on his backhand, then swept it around Kahkonen’s skate. Assists went to Hertl and Brent Burns.

The Sharks made it 2-0 at 9:22 with a power play goal. Brent Burns shot the puck right up the middle. Kahkonen stopped it but left a rebound. Ryan Donato was there to gather it up and tuck it under the goaltender. Assists went to Burns and Mario Ferraro.

That was the only power play for the second period. The Sharks outshot the Wild 14-9. The Sharks improved in the face-of circle, winning 55% of them.
Kirill Kaprizov cut the Sharks lead to 2-1 at 8:23. He carried the puck at speed from below the goal line, past one point to the other before taking the shot, which went past Jones on the far side. Carson Soucy got the assist.

The Sharks’ third goal started when Rudolfs Balcers carried the puck onto the zone. It was knocked off of his stick but Tomas Hertl was right there to get it back and pass it to Erik Karlsson. Karlsson found Nikolai Knyzhov just coming across the blue line, Knyzhov let the traffic settle into place in front of the net before shooting it past Kahkonen’s glove. Assists on Knyzhov’s first NHL goal went to Karlsson and Hertl.

Kaprizov knocked Logan Couture off the puck at 12:18. While Evander Kane was giving Kaprizov a piece of his mind about the hit, Ryan Hartman went after Kane. All the skaters on the ice converged after that but the result was just two minor penalties: cross-checking to Hartman and roughing to Kane.

The Wild made it 3-2 with their net empty and 12.1 seconds left in the game. Kevin Fiala took a shot from the point with three skaters blocking Jones’ view. The puck went off of Mats Zuccarello and in. Assists went to Fiala and Jared Spurgeon.

Evander Kane scored from just outside the Sharks’ blue line, into an empty net with one second left in the game. It was his sixth shot of the night.

The Sharks won the third period face-off battle 9-6. Each team had a power play in the period, with the Sharks taking three shots and the Wild taking two. In overall third period shots, the teams were tied at 9 each.

The Sharks next play on Friday against the Kings in Los Angeles at 7:00 PM PT.