The Union Democrat
Sharks get back team identity, earn win over Wild
The Sharks got back to their blue-collar identity on Tuesday to help earn an impressive — and feisty — win over the host Minnesota Wild.
Timo Meier, Logan Couture and Rudolfs Balcers each had two points and goalie James Reimer had 26 saves as the Sharks took an early lead and picked up a 4-1 victory over the Wild at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
Erik Karlsson scored a critical 4-on-4 goal at the 9:32 mark of the second period with a huge blast from the top of the circle that beat Wild goalie Cam Talbot.
Minnesota had been pressing for the equalizer after Joel Eriksson Ek had scored just four minutes earlier to cut the Sharks' lead to 2-1. But Karlsson's goal, his third of the season, erased the Wild's momentum, not to mention the distaste of Saturday's blowout loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
Tomas Hertl scored at the 9:25 mark of the third period to help seal the victory as the Sharks improved to 2-2-0 on their five-game road trip that ends Thursday in St. Louis.
The game featured two fights, as Sharks defenseman Jake Middleton dropped the gloves with Wild forward Jordan Greenway in the first period, and forward Jonah Gadjovich had a scrap with Minnesota winger Marcus Foligno.
The Sharks had plenty of time to stew about their ugliest loss of the season over the weekend.
The Sharks made a host of mistakes and looked out of sorts in a 6-2 loss to the Avalanche on Saturday. The game marked the return of seven San Jose players from the NHL'S COVID-19 list, including Karlsson, Meier, and Middleton.
The Sharks had the day off Sunday, had a rigorous practice Monday in Denver and felt the urgency to get back on track Tuesday with a solid effort.
“My idea of our team identity is a team that has to grind wins out. We have to have that 3-2, 2-1 mentality,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said Tuesday morning. “We talked about not having (Connor) Mcdavid and (Leon) Draisaitl), winning games 6-5. That's not our style.
“We've got to manage our game. We've got to be competitive, be hard to play against. I use the word all the time, but we've got to be connected. When we get away from that, we get into trouble.”