The Sharks tasted defeat at HP Pavilion for the first time this season and it left a bitter taste for Team Teal. The visiting Minnesota Wild surely but slowly built up a 4-0 lead en route to their 4-1 victory.
Minnesota was without their star Marian Gaborik, and having played the previous night in Anaheim, it was thought the advantage would go the Sharks way.
“Maybe we took for granted that they played last night,” said Joe Thornton
“We were a little lackadaisical and had to try and fight back,” said Patrick Marleau
For whatever reason, the Sharks just didn’t appear to be on their game early.
“I don’t think we had our jump right at the start,” said Scott Hannan. “They are so sound technically and they won the battles. When they get up two, it is hard to come back.”
The Wild have opened up their game a bit, but they still possess that strangling defense.
San Jose was not without their opportunities and outshot the Wild 32-18.
“We did have our chances,” said Thornton. “We still had a lot of pressure.”
For San Jose to tighten things up, the upcoming road trip may be just what the doctor ordered.
“We had some good games at home and now we have to have some on the road,” said Thornton.
If San Jose takes their lesson from Saturday on the road, they will find plenty of success on the upcoming five-game trip. The trip includes Columbus, Detroit, Nashville, Tampa Bay and Florida over a seven day span.
“It is definitely a good wake-up call,” said Marleau. “We’re going out on the road and we need solid road games like they played tonight.”
LITTLE PP CHANCES
San Jose has been among the NHL leaders while up a man, but Minnesota limited those power plays and was strong as always on the PK.
“I think we’ve had so much success on the power play, that we seemed to wait for one to bury them,” said Ron Wilson. “They are a lot like us. They don’t take too many penalties and they are good penalty killers.”
Both clubs finished the night 0-4 on the power play.
For the Sharks single tally on the night, Hannan carried the puck across into the zone and drove the high slot, fending off two blueliners. Marleau dropped down, picked up the loose puck, and then smoothly went upstairs to prevent the shutout. It marked Hannan’s first offense point of the season.
“I don’t know if I controlled it, but it was too little too much,” said Hannan.
With the goal, Marleau now has four tallies and six helpers on the season and his 10 points lead the Sharks.
San Jose will fly to Columbus tomorrow after practice and play the Blue Jackets on Monday at 4 p.m. The game will not be televised, but can be heard on 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.