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 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
So much of the Minnesota Wild’s first game of the season against the San Jose Sharks centered around the guys who were facing their former teams. Lost in all of that hullabaloo was the fact the Wild had a chance to stretch a win streak to six games and gain sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division thanks to an Edmonton Oiler loss in Boston.
A 3-1 Sharks win doused both of those hopes thanks to a breakout second period and a suffocating defense.
The loss was just the second in regulation on the road for the Wild and the first since October 10, which was the first road game of the season.
“It’s about how we respond from this game and how we come back,” said Head Coach Mike Yeo. “Maybe it’s a good thing for us. It’s a reminder that we’re not close to where we need to be yet.”
There were two former Wild players in this game and three former Sharks. Only one – Brent Burns – registered a point in this game, and that was a second assist on Patrick Marleau’s second power play goal.
In the game of hockey, everyone has the chance to step up. While Burns, Marty Havlat, Devin Setoguchi
and Dany Heatley
all have the ability to change the game, it’s not going to happen every night. Tonight, it was lifelong Shark Patrick Marleau who was the difference.
As great goal scorers do, he hounded the puck which led to his first goal. And he found some open space to let go with his wicked shot, and that’s how he scored his second goal.
Both of Marleau’s tallies came on the power play, meaning the Wild’s streak of successful penalty kills was dashed at 24. The fact was the Wild just took too many penalties, and unlike Tuesday in Calgary, they paid for it.
Yeo credited the Sharks afterwards, saying they were the team that was stronger on the puck and that leads to the other team taking penalties. That’s what tonight’s penalty trouble was, too. There weren’t roughs or fights or checks from behind. There were trips and hooks and holds. The Wild just had trouble containing the big and powerful Sharks on this night.
My coverage of tonight’s contest was done from the comforts of home, so I didn’t get a taste of what things were like in the Shark Tank tonight. But by all accounts, the reception that Sharks fans gave their former players was warm and classy.
Yeo pulled off a classy move by putting both Heatley and Setoguchi out there for the opening faceoff. That gave fans the chance to honor both, and Setoguchi, the longtime Shark earned the biggest ovation.
But Sharks fans don’t forget their own. Brad Staubitz, who wasn’t exactly a star in San Jose and has been gone for two seasons, also got a large ovation when he was shown on the big screen. It’s possible that Sharks fans vividly remember this whooping he put on Jordin Tootoo
. Guillaume Latendresse
did not come to the bench for the third period. Yeo did not have an update on his injury following the game. Latendresse, who was riding a three-game goal streak coming in, has been hampered by some soreness, but thus far it hasn’t been anything too serious. We’ll have to wait until after tomorrow’s practice for an update on his status.