After a couple of goals, the Wild had the San Jose Sharks exactly where they wanted them.
As ridiculous as that sounds, the Wild have made a habit of fixing deficits this season and then converting them into unlikely wins.
Unfortunately for the wild, they couldn’t finish the comeback on Sunday night at the Xcel Energy Center and fell 4-3 to the Sharks in regulation.
A back and forth competition ended with former Wild defender Brent Burns scoring the winning goal for the Sharks. It was an incredible effort on Burns as he dangled through the traffic in front of him and then backhanded goalkeeper Kaapo Kahkonen.
While the wilds will lament some of their missed opportunities, especially late in the game, they probably didn’t deserve to win because of their work. Dynamic as the Wilds were, they also fought for a good part of the game.
Still, it was a quick start for the Wild on this special night when Zach Parise skillfully completed a nice feed from Kirill Kaprizov to make it 1-0 in the first half. It was a bloody effort on the part of Kaprizov, who started the sequence with a cheeky play along the boards and then found Parise with a precise pass near the slot.
Unfortunately for the wild, this was good as they seemed to fall asleep for the next 15 minutes of play. They seemed unable to complete a pass and compounded their lack of execution with lack of exertion.
To be honest, Wild didn’t deserve to take the lead at break and fittingly, Ryan Donato finished the game 1-1 against his former side towards the end of the first half.
This paved the way for the second period in which the wilderness continued to struggle on both ends. The sharks made them pay. It started with a goal from Evander Kane, who made it 2-1 after a turnover from Marcus Foligno in the neutral zone.
While it looked like the Wild had tied it a few minutes later, the Sharks challenged the game and the officials decided that Nick Bjugstad did indeed upset goalkeeper Martin Jones in the fold. The goal was ruined and less than a minute later Noah Gregor scored the 3-1 in favor of the Sharks.
That seemed to wake up the wilderness. Just like the road trip for the season opening. They ended the second half in a hurricane, with Bjugstad scoring a goal in real time to bring the deficit down to 3-2.
That advance from the wilds continued into the third period and Kevin Fiala connected the game 3-3 with his second goal in as many games.
That simply set the stage for Burns to play as a hero with a groundbreaking goal and make it 4-3 too late. Matt Nieto ended the game 5-3 with a clean sheet as the Sharks emerged victorious.
On the subject of matching items
Brad Hunt plays a valuable role for Wild as a veteran who never complains
A look behind the scenes of the empty Wild Home Opener
What if the wild rookie Kirill Kaprizov made this wonderful move?
Wild loses goalkeeper Cam Talbot in a 4-1 win over Sharks
Devan Dubnyk returns to Minnesota as an opposing goalkeeper