After a solid 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, the Minnesota Wild were back in action Thursday night looking to earn consecutive road wins for the first time all season. The Wild seemed to have a pretty good opportunity at pulling that off, especially against a struggling San Jose Sharks team. Unfortunately for Minnesota, though, that didn’t happen. But they did take part in one of the most
Wild insane games of the young 2019-20 season.
Let’s start from the top.
Just 52 seconds into the contest, Sharks captain Logan Couture beat Wild netminder Alex Stalock to give San Jose the early lead. About five minutes later, Timo Meier wristed one past Stalock to double the San Jose lead.
Not even a full period in, the Wild looked dead in the water. But the Sharks wisely didn’t let up. With 3:20 remaining in the opening stanza, Marcus Sorensen redirected a Patrick Marleau feed to make it 3-0. And then, not even two minutes later, Radim Simek scored on a 4-on-2 rush to make it 4-0.
From there, though, the Wild finally started to get things turned around. Minnesota managed to score a pair of goals in the middle period — one by Luke Kunin and the other by Eric Staal. The Sharks netted a couple insurance goals as well to make it 6-2 after 40 minutes. And those two goals wound up being key later in the contest.
Why? Because things got downright ridiculous in the third period. The Wild scored not one, not two, but three straight goals in the final third to get within a goal of tying. Brad Hunt opened the floodgates around the period’s midway point, and Ryan Donato, scoring his first goal of the season, kept the momentum going. Finally, not long after killing off a five-minute major penalty to Ryan Hartman, Jason Zucker beat Martin Jones to make it a 6-5 game.
The Wild were firing on all cylinders late in the contest (not something that happens too often these days!), and they very nearly tied the game multiple times in the game’s final few minutes, thanks to a couple nice chances from Zach Parise and Staal. However, San Jose managed to hold off the surging Wild and preserve the lead en route to a 6-5 victory.
Just a crazy game from start to finish. For various reasons.
Answers to our Burning Questions
1. Will Zach Parise produce offensively?
Nope. Parise failed to register a point for the 11th time this season, which is a problem. The 35-year-old has a grand total of just five points (four goals) through 16 games and often fails to stand out on a consistent basis. Of the 22 skaters who have dressed for the Wild this season, Parise now ranks 19th on the team with a disappointing 47.03 CF% at 5-on-5.
That said, not everything against the Sharks was bad for Parise. He did get this one chance late in the third period that nearly tied the game:
Granted, it would have been a lot nicer had he buried that chance, but it’s something.
2. Can the Wild start periods strong?
No. The Wild began the game by immediately allowing San Jose to get on the board not even a minute in. Allowing early goals (and goals in bunches) remains a major issue for this Wild team.
One positive thing to note, however — the Wild did look like a very different team to start the second and third period. They didn’t come out and immediately score (like opposing teams seem to do so often against the Wild), but they did get off to an encouraging start a couple times as opposed to simply being manhandled from the opening faceoff.
3. Can the Wild shut down the grizzly bear that is Brent Burns?
Nope. While forwards Jordan Greenway and Ryan Hartman did seem to get under Brent Burns’ skin a couple times throughout the contest, Burns wound up getting the last laugh. The 2017 Norris winner finished the night with a pair of assists, giving him 13 on the season (and 16 total points). The former Wild draft pick played a pretty big role in his team’s victory.
Marcus Foligno was not on the bench to start the middle period and wound up missing the remainder of the game. It appears he suffered a lower-body injury on this play, though it’s hard to tell exactly how he got hurt:
Stay tuned for updates on Foligno as they become available.
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