San Jose Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson tweaked his lineup for Wednesday night’s 4-3 shootout win against Minnesota and it worked out perfectly. He took the opportunity to put forwards Curtis Brown and Jeremy Roenick back into the lineup, along with blueliner Matt Carle, and the wingers figured prominently in the victory.
Brown helped set up Roenick for the Sharks opening tally and Brown scored the second tally on a feed from Roenick. Then J.R. scored the shootout game winner. A fine night for the Sharks veteran performers.
Roenick had just been receiving some rest, but Brown was returning from a 26-game injury absence and could not have plotted things better.
“I missed Brownie out there,” said Roenick. “We have really good chemistry.”
“Obviously having been out, you hope you can come back and help,” said Brown. “It’s fun to get back out there and be a part of it. You want to give the coach a lot of options.”
Brown’s secondary assist allowed the Sharks to nail the tic-tac-toe goal on the three-on-one rush.
“After Jody had the great fight, Patty came out and made the block,” said Brown. “You don’t get that chance (three-on-one) very often.”
Brown used his patented backhander on his own tally.
Carle finished even on the night in almost 14 minutes of action.
“Matt did a good job,” said Wilson. “Kyle is a little banged up and we need a lot of defensemen to go far in the playoffs.”
The Sharks surrendered a late power play goal with the Minnesota netminder pulled, but in the end, did what they needed to do to secure the victory. The two points officially clinched a playoff spot.
“It’s nice to get two points when we didn’t play our best,” said Mike Grier.
Every time the Sharks scored, Minnesota seemed to have an answer.
“The momentum was swinging back and forth and left and right,” said Brown.
TOUGH CRASHTorrey Mitchell
was part of a scary collision when he and Minnesota’s Kurt Foster went into the boards together. Foster had to be taken off on a stretcher and taken to a local hospital to have his leg examined.
“I was just trying to get to the puck first and we collided,” said Mitchell. “Obviously, it was unintentional. I don’t know if I lost an edge first or him. You never want to hurt anyone and I hope he’s O.K.”
Wilson wishes plays like that never had the opportunity to occur.
“It’s just one of those things that tells you that there should be automatic icing, which I’ve been talking about for years,” said Wilson. “I guess that’s a play where the fans want to see a big car wreck like that. I don’t know the extent of the injury. But whatever it is, you shouldn’t have those types of car wrecks. For all the times you might have somebody beat a guy to a puck on an icing, it will never offset a situation where two guys collide and somebody gets hurt on the play.”
“Guys are faster and bigger,” said Grier. “When two guys are working hard, it doesn’t take much.”
Mitchell was open to some physical play from Minnesota the rest of the evening.
“It’s all part of the game and they’re sticking up for their teammate,” said Mitchell.
Roenick stood with the Minnesota players near Foster as he was loaded on to the stretcher.
“I feel really bad for the kid,” said Roenick. “It takes a lot of guts to go in there with speed. When you go in there that fast, some bad things can happen.”
With his tally, Jeremy Roenick is now standing alongside Jean Beliveau who posted 507 goals in his own storied career.
“It’s pretty awesome when you start talking about names like that,” said Roenick.
The Sharks have earned the day off from practice on Thursday from their head coach.
“Our team gave an unbelievable effort considering it was our third game in four nights, back-to-back, against a team resting here waiting for us,” said Wilson. “I was happy with the one point and the icing on the cake was the win in the shootout.”
WILD HEAD COACH JACQUES LEMAIRE
“When you look at the game overall, I don’t think it was one of the best games. It was fine to get a point there, it was kind of a funny game.”
“We played really well, I think the first period, I felt that we wanted to control the puck too much in the neutral zone.”
The Sharks will play again on Friday against Anaheim at 7:30 p.m. at HP Pavilion and the game will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com.