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Wild's crazy comeback falls one goal short

Trailing by four headed to the third, Minnesota scored three times and had several chances to tie the game late in loss at San Jose

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- In the dressing room during the second intermission, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau implored his team to continue to fight back.

The game, he said, was far from over.

Down 6-2 at the time, Minnesota had overcome a tough first 20 minutes, played better in the second period but, like it had when it went to the locker room after the first, trailed by four goals.

"We weren't ready to play," Boudreau said. "That's all I can say. The preparation wasn't ready."

Still, he felt like the Wild was capable of a push and the team needn't look far for some inspiration.

Video: Bruce Boudreau postgame at San Jose

"I thought there was a chance," Boudreau said. "Just think of the Dallas game. I thought they had shut it down a little bit. They got two power-play goals but I thought if we came out and got one in the third period early, then we'd be game on."

Indeed, it was just nine days ago in the Lone Star State that the Wild lost a three-goal lead in an eventual 6-3 loss to Dallas at American Airlines Center.

It was a game that looked all but over for much of the first 35 minutes before the Wild seemingly lulled itself into a false sense of security, only to see its lead wither away in a hurry.

This time, Minnesota tried to flip the script.

Down 4-0 after one period, the Wild traded goals late in the second but felt it had turned a corner. 

Video: MIN@SJS: Kunin connects with Hunt for tally

One spark was all it needed. Finally, it did, when Brad Hunt gathered in a turnover behind the Sharks goal and deposited it behind goaltender Martin Jones to make it 6-3 with just under 12 minutes to play.

Video: MIN@SJS: Donato snaps a one-timer top shelf

Barely more than a minute later, Ryan Donato blasted a pass from Eric Staal just under the crossbar and it was 6-4. 

All of the sudden, the nervousness inside SAP Center was palpable. 

"We had all the momentum," Staal said. 

The Sharks entered the night allowing the fourth-most goals per game in the NHL this season, and with all due respect to Jones, he's had a history in recent years to unravel. 

A controversial major penalty on Ryan Hartman and a too many men on the ice penalty by the Wild slowed the team's momentum for a five minute stretch, but Minnesota survived the kill then struck again on a blast by Jason Zucker from the right circle. 

Video: MIN@SJS: Zucker nets Zuccarello's feed on the rush

The score was 6-5, there was more than four minutes remaining on the clock, and by this point, a tying goal seemed almost inevitable. 

It nearly was.

With a little over two minutes left, the Sharks gift wrapped a turnover to Zach Parise, who skated in alone on Jones and got the goalie to commit first. On his forehand, Parise simply couldn't lift the puck over Jones' right pad.

The missed opportunity lingered with Parise for some time. He sat despondent in his locker stall for several minutes after the game.

Ryan Suter would hit a post as well in the final seconds and Minnesota threw everything it had at Jones in the final moments, but couldn't find an equalizer in one of the craziest endings to a hockey game you'll ever see.

Video: Locker room postgame at San Jose

"You've got to keep playing. We had plenty of chances to tie the game," Staal said. "We hit a post, and we just didn't get that last one to get a tie. But you got to keep playing."

Said Wild forward Luke Kunin: "It's frustrating. We knew we could come back. You saw that. We did a lot of good things and it was too little, too late. We got some chances at the end. It's very frustrating for sure." 


Related:

Postgame Hat Trick: Sharks 6, Wild 5

Video: MIN Recap: Wild rally late, ultimately lose, 6-5

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