SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Wild didn’t let the Sharks run up the shot clock.
Players stayed out of the penalty box, and they capitalized when they were awarded an extra attacker.
But that diligence still wasn’t enough to outlast the Sharks, who held on for a 4-3 victory Tuesday night in front of 15,853 at SAP Center to hand the Wild only its second loss in its past nine games — a buzzkill at the outset of three in a row in California and the final four games of a franchise-record seven consecutive on the road.
“We gave them four goals,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Our mistakes were really egregious. You can’t do that to a team like this that’s got a lot of scoring power.”
Sharks winger Barclay Goodrow deflected former Wild defenseman Brent Burns’ shot 7 minutes, 25 seconds into the third period to resolve a 3-3 tie and snuff out the Wild’s valiant attempt at a comeback that included a pair of goals in the final frame.
Such might be the margin of error when facing a squad such as San Jose, which entered the game with only one less victory than the Wild and is billed as a Stanley Cup contender.
But this also wasn’t the same Wild lineup that had rattled off a 7-1 run.
Center Eric Staal did not play because of illness, and the Wild ushered in Matt Hendricks — his first appearance since he suffered a lower-body injury Oct. 16 against the Coyotes.
“You’d like to have [Staal] there,” Boudreau said. “You just move people around. Everybody’s played before, and you hope somebody steps up and takes his spot and does a good job.”
Despite outshooting the Sharks 8-2 in the first period, it was the Wild that entered intermission in a hole.
San Jose converted on its first shot of the game only 4:47 after puck drop when winger Marcus Sorensen got loose near the back post and had enough time to settle a feed from Burns and sling it into a mostly empty net with goalie Devan Dubnyk guarding the other direction.
The less-is-more approach also helped the Sharks grow their lead in the second, going up 2-0 on only their ninth shot of the game.
This time, center Joe Thornton deflected in a Sorensen shot at 5:36.
Later in the period, the Wild finally converted on the power play when winger Zach Parise buried a rebound at 12:56 for his 100th career power-play goal.
Overall, the Wild finished 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Before the second period ended, though, the Sharks reinstated their two-goal cushion. And once again, Sorensen was involved.
He set up center Antti Suomela for a breakaway during a Wild line change, and Suomela lifted the puck by Dubnyk with his backhand at 17:08.
“They put on a good push in the second,” defenseman Jared Spurgeon said. “But I thought the stuff they were getting we were sort of giving to them.”
The Wild tied the score early in the third. Only 1:22 into the period, Spurgeon wove a shot through traffic and behind Jones. Only 2:05 after that, Dumba turned in his fifth goal of the season when he walked in for a windup that sailed by Jones.
But that momentum was nixed when the Sharks responded with Goodrow’s redirect.
Dubnyk finished with 18 saves, while Jones had 23.
Winger Mikael Granlund failed to register a point, ending his streak at 10 games.
“When we tied it up, we went into a shell after that for whatever reason,” Boudreau said. “We had them on the run for a little bit. We let them off the hook.”
San jose 4, Wild 3
Thurs: 9:30 p.m. at L.A. (FSN)