Lone Kyle Brodziak goal not enough as Wild win streak ends in San Jose
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Looking for their sixth consecutive win on Thursday in San Jose, the Minnesota Wild had a night of firsts, and hardly any of them were good. They allowed three goals in a period for the first time. They trailed by three goals for the first time. And after shutting out Calgary earlier in the week, Niklas Backstrom allowed a goal (or a few) for the first time in a long time as the Sharks beat the Wild 3-1.
Kyle Brodziak scored the Wild's only goal, but well after the matter was all but decided. After a scoreless first period, Patrick Marleau scored a pair of power play goals in the second as san Jose took round one in the battle of the off-season's friendliest trading partners.
It was the worst single period for the Wild this season, as the Sharks scored three times on 18 shots to continue their string of mastery over the Wild in northern California.
The pregame hype was all about familiar names in unfamiliar sweaters, as this was the first meeting between the Wild and Sharks since they made significant swaps over the summer. Indeed, Brent Burns and Martin Havlat skated for the Sharks, with Burns getting an assist from his post on the San Jose blue line. Ex-Sharks Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley had quiet nights on the score sheet, although Setoguchi received a nice ovation from the Sharks faithful when he was shown on the arena's big screen.
Just when we were starting to think that the Wild might never allow a power play goal again, costly a misplay by a pair of Wild players brought the penalty kill streak to an end. Niklas Backstom and Justin Falk juggled and bumbled a loose puck in front of the Wild net just long enough for Marleau to swoop in and swat it into the Wild net. Amazingly, although the goal came directly off a Wild turnover, the scorers in San Jose awarded two Sharks assists on the play.
• 27: Consecutive penalties killed by the Wild - a streak that was snapped when Patrick Marleau scored on a second period power play for the Sharks.
• 18: Second period shots by the Sharks, as they took control of the game, and the scoreboard.
• 3-0: Largest deficit by the Wild at any point this season.
Cal Clutterbuck returned to the lineup, making Warren Peters a healthy scratch. Guillaume Latendresse played the first two periods but did not appear on the bench or on the ice in the third. No reason was given for his absence.
Sharks - Patrick Marleau 5 (Boyle, Braun), 2:34, PPG
Sharks - Marleau 6 (Clowe, Burns), 15:34, PPG
Sharks - Torrey Mitchell 1 (Handzus), 18:39
Wild - Kyle Brodziak 3 (Zidlicky, Schultz), 13:33
Shots: Wild 5-10-7-22; Sharks 7-18-11-36. Saves: Wild, Niklas Backstrom (33-36); Sharks, Antti Niemi (21-22). Power plays: Wild 0-for-3, Sharks 2-5.
1. Patrick Marleau
2. Torrey Mitchell
3. Niklas Backstrom
While the Midwest contends with cold and threats of snow, the Wild are headed to the land of smog and the occasional earthquake for a pair in Southern California. The road trip continues as Minnesota visits the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday and the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.