Following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
The common theme when your team is facing a very good team that is struggling is to say, “Team X (in this case the Wild) is catching Team Y (in this case the San Jose Sharks) at the perfect time.”
Of course, catching a team with eight Olympians and four gold medalists after six straight losses is probably the worst time to “catch” them. On Tuesday, the Sharks looked like the Sharks of October through mid-February, and the Wild did not have an answer in a 4-1 loss. Undoubtedly, the biggest blow was struck by Torrey Mitchell 17 seconds into the third period. With the Wild having cut San Jose’s lead to 2-1 after two, the Sharks immediately established their leverage with Mitchell’s goal. For the rest of the period it was an uphill struggle that never got past the midway point.
That struggle had a lot to do with San Jose’s stifling defense. In fact, some may call the Sharks’ defensive scheme a “trapping” style, which of course is ridiculous. Any media outlet outside of the Midwest can tell you that the Wild and New Jersey Devils are the only teams ever to play the trap in the NHL. But whatever the Sharks did seemed to work. The Wild could not get any sustained attack going, and finished the third period with only five shots, none of which came on a power play with 3:31 remaining.
There was a bright spot, other than the fact that the weather was beautiful today. Guillaume Latendresse
continues to impress notched his 27th goal of the season in the same way he picked up most of the first 26, by finishing around the front of the net. After smacking home a loose puck, Latendresse is not tied for the ninth-highest goal total in a season for a Wild player (25). Since being acquired from Montreal on November 23, Latendresse is tied for eighth in the NHL in goals with Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom.
And all though he could care less, we have to congratulate Nick Schultz on 600 career games played, all in a Wild uniform. The 27-year-old Schultz, who is under contract with the Wild until 2014, could hold the franchise mark in games played for a long time. The closest active member of the Wild is Pierre-Marc Bouchard
at 426. Considering Schultz has never played less than 75 games in a season since 2002-2003, it’s safe to say he’s going to have a hefty total when all is said and done.
Brent Burns has been another bright spot, as he seems to be gaining steam as the season chugs to the end. After a spectacular assist on Sunday, he added another on Latendresse’s goal. In his last four games, Burns has an assist in each (he missed six in the middle with a hip injury).