San Jose gets off the schneid, snaps six-game losing streak at Minnesota expense
By Wild Road Tripper
Like so much food in the water, what the San Jose Sharks needed most was a chance to relax and feed off some poor, out-of-the-playoffs team whose defense is not very good.
Enter the Minnesota Wild, who were just such a school for the Sharks tonight, embarrassing themselves once again in front of a national cable/satellite TV audience with a 4-1 trouncing by the Pacific Division-leading (again, thanks to tonight) Sharks, in front of 18,551 somewhat disgusted patrons at Xcel Energy Center.
It didn't take too long -- 5:12, to be exact -- before the Sharks, behind Joe Pavelski's goal, began to feed off the impatient, inexact Wild. Passes were in feet, behind intended players, winding up on oppositions players' sticks, you name it -- and the game basically went downhill from there. Rob Blake had 3 assists, and Ryane Clowe assisted twice, as nine different Sharks helped themselves to the school of free points, courtesy of the porous Wild effort.
The only bright spot of the game was Guillaume Latendresse's 25th goal in a Wild sweater, coming near the end of a San Jose power play, when Latendresse was finally able to put one past Evgeni Nabokov. Other than that, 'Nabby' didn't really have that much to do, as the tight San Jose defense (frequently putting all five players between the red line and their own blue line, especially in the third period) basically shut down the Wild to win the game. The win is San Jose's 3rd in 3 games vs. the Wild this season.
Niklas Backstrom, returning for his first start in two weeks, had 13 saves for the Wild. The Wild now vacate the 'X' for the rest of the week, beginning with the Next Game: at Philadelphia, Thursday, March 25, 6:00 PM Central (7:00 PM Eastern) Time, Wachovia Center. (Wild TV: FSNorth (includes FSWisconsin); Flyers' TV: CSN-Philly (in HD); XM Radio, Ch. 207)