Skip to main content


Vlasic does it again; Sharks defeat Wild

by Dan Myers /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic isn't exactly an elite goal scorer. But he sure is a clutch one.

Vlasic scored with 1:51 remaining in overtime to give the Sharks a 4-3 win against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

On Monday, Vlasic scored the game-winning goal with 4.5 seconds left in regulation against the Winnipeg Jets (3-2).

It was the first time this season the Sharks (22-14-5) have won each game in a back-to-back.

"I've never done that before," Vlasic said of his back-to-back game-winners. "I went short-side, which I did [Monday]. ... So I tried it again."

After turning the puck over at the blue line in his offensive zone, Vlasic regained control at center, played a quick give-and-go with Justin Braun and sent a slap shot from the left half-wall that beat Darcy Kuemper blocker side, his sixth, tying a career high.

"He's taking the shot, which is a lesson for all of us. He's got a hot hand, get him the puck and let him shoot it. I'm happy for him. He deserves it," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "He does a lot of good things defensively so to get recognized offensively for a couple winning goals is a nice thing for him."

"We're not in a position where we can have anybody be below average," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "That always starts and ends with goaltending. I'm trying to be sensitive to his confidence, but that goal in overtime can't go in."

San Jose has now won 12 of its past 17 games, has 49 points and concludes the first half of its season in second place in the Pacific Division, nine points behind the division-leading Anaheim Ducks.

Minnesota (18-15-5) scored twice in the first period. After a potential icing was waved off, Sharks goalie Alex Stalock played the puck behind the net. His attempt to clear was deflected by Jason Pominville to Jason Zucker's stick at the left faceoff circle. Zucker went to the front of the net and stuffed the puck behind Stalock at 15:21.

The Wild then capped a good cycle behind the Sharks goal. Zucker gained control of the puck and skated to Stalock's left. San Jose forward Patrick Marleau was a step behind Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who was crashing from the blue line. Zucker found Spurgeon at the bottom of the right circle, and he snapped a shot over Stalock's glove.

Stalock was good after that, making 28 saves in his first NHL start at Xcel Energy Center, a 10-minute drive from his hometown of South St. Paul, Minn.

"There's no more to say really about [the first goal]. He made a critical error," McLellan said. "A couple minutes later, he made another mistake on our behalf. Now you're concerned, but he settled in after that and made saves when he needed to."

San Jose made it 2-1 midway at 10:54 of the second period. A dump-in by defenseman Brent Burns took a bounce off a stanchion behind Kuemper and went right to Melker Karlsson alone in the slot. Karlsson deked and slipped the puck through Kuemper's five-hole.

The Sharks tied the score 6:21 into the third period on a snap shot through traffic by Joe Pavelski that beat Kuemper high over his blocker. Pavelski, who assisted on Karlsson's goal, has back-to-back two-point games and three in his past four.

"I thought we competed hard. I thought we played well. I'm sure the last couple [Kuemper] would like to have back, but that's part of the game," Wild defenseman Ryan Suter said. "We competed well. We have to continue to compete like that and the luck will change for sure."

The Sharks took a 3-2 lead 1:14 later when Tommy Wingels scored on a rebound that took a tricky bounce off Kuemper's left pad. It was Wingels' first goal since Dec. 4, a span of 13 games, and first point since Dec. 18.

"It's frustrating when you go through something like that, but I tried to contribute in other ways," Wingels said. "We have to play this game to score goals, so when you go through a streak like that it's frustrating. But fortunately over the past 10, 15 games or so our team's been winning. That's what matters."

Zucker scored with 7:48 left, going hard to the net and tapping in a centering pass from the right half-wall by Charlie Coyle. It was Zucker's first three-point game in the NHL.

"It doesn't really matter to me. We need to win and that's all I care about," Zucker said. "It's tough. Going into the third with a 2-1 lead, we can't give that up. We battled back and we need to find a way to get that second point when it comes down to overtime. We really could have used that second point."

Zucker was skating on Minnesota's top line in place of Zach Parise, who missed the game to be with his ailing father, former NHL player J.P. Parise, who has lung cancer.

"It's too bad. Zach's such a huge part of our team and for him not to be here is tough," Suter said. "For him to be going through what he's going through is awful. I couldn't even imagine what he's going through and what he has been going through. To play through it says a lot about who he is and I know his dad would be proud of him. Zach is a professional. It's just too bad the circumstances right now."

View More