A high-scoring third period doomed the San Jose Sharks as they fell to the Minnesota Wild 5-4 at SAP Center on Thursday night.
Tim Heed was called up Thursday morning from the San Jose Barracuda and was a healthy scratch. Heed scored two third-period power-play goals in the Barracuda’s 4-2 win over the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday night.
The Sharks jumped off to a good start. Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc generated the first two scoring chances for San Jose. Also, Martin Jones made an excellent save on Zach Parise’s partial breakaway after he blocked a shot from Brent Burns.
Shots were 8-5 in favor of San Jose, but the two teams skated to a scoreless tie after 20 minutes.
The Sharks scored two goals in a 3:05 span of the second period to get ahead 2-0 before the Wild got on the board.
Labanc slid a cross-ice pass to Joonas Donskoi, who fired a wrist shot that went top shelf over Devan Dubnyk’s glove to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 8:22 of the second period. With his fifth goal of the season, Donskoi snapped a five-game pointless drought dating back to Dec. 20 against the Calgary Flames.
Melker Karlsson went to the box for high sticking, but the Sharks escaped their first penalty kill. Matt Dumba was called for hooking less than two minutes later. San Jose received their first power play of the game. Joe Pavelski redirected a point shot from Brent Burns and chipped home the rebound to score his 13th of the season and give the Sharks a 2-0 lead at 11:27.
The Wild cut the lead in half with 1:01 remaining in the period. Eric Staal sent a snap shot from the high slot that beat Jones for a power-play goal and his 12th of the season.
The Sharks outshot the Wild 23-11 and held a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Zach Parise picked up a pass from Nino Niederreiter and fired it into the net for his seventh of the season, tying the score at 2-2 just 2:08 into the third period.
The Sharks refused to sit back and relax. San Jose retook the lead when Joel Ward found some space and deposited his third of the season at 3:49.
The Sharks grabbed a 4-2 lead just 32 seconds later as Patrick Marleau collected a saucer pass from Ward, skated down the left circle and beat Dubnyk five-hole for his 11th of the season. With his 492nd career goal, Marleau passed Jean Ratelle for 46th place on the NHL’s all-time goal list.
However, the lead was short-lived. The Sharks were unable recover from a defensive lapse as they allowed three goals in a relatively short amount of time.
Staal scored his second goal of the night and 13th of the season to pull Minnesota within one at 5:06.
In his 800th NHL game, Mikko Koivu scored two quick goals to put the Wild up 5-4 at 10:18.
The Sharks (23-14-2) dropped a 5-4 decision to the Wild (24-9-4) for their third straight loss. Jones made 21 saves in a losing effort for San Jose.
Dubnyk finished with 30 saves in a Minnesota victory.
The Sharks honor the 50th anniversary of the California Golden Seals and the NHL coming to the Bay Area Saturday when they host the Detroit Red Wings (17-17-5) at 7:30 p.m. PST on CSCA, FDT+.