Furious rally comes up short as Wild fall 6-5 to Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Wild star Zach Parise sat alone at his locker for more than 15 minutes after the final buzzer sounded on Thursday night at SAP Center.

Most of his teammates had already showered and changed into their street clothes by the time Parise completely geared down, and while a myriad of emotions were likely going through his head in that moment in time, chief among them had to be the fact that he couldn’t elevate a puck in the final minutes of a 6-5 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Despite a furious rally by the Wild in the final frame, the comeback came up just short, with Parise’s missed opportunity from point-blank range serving as the final nail in the coffin.

Zach Parise nearly ties it, but Martin Jones makes the massive save. pic.twitter.com/15UcIAv49E

— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) November 8, 2019

A frustrated Parise declined comment after the loss, as did teammates Jason Zucker and Ryan Hartman.

Even though Parise will likely put a lot of the blame on himself for not scoring the game-tying goal, to put the blame solely on him for not cashing in would be letting everyone else off the hook easy.

The fact of the matter is the Wild as a whole were dreadful for 40 minutes and that ended up overshadowing an incredible effort over the final 20 minutes.

Never mind the fact that coach Bruce Boudreau spent the better part of 48 hours warning that the comeback win over the Anaheim Ducks a couple of days earlier didn’t mean anything unless the Wild followed it up with a solid effort against the Sharks.

As soon as the puck dropped, it was clear that message had fallen on deaf ears.

“We weren’t ready to play,” Boudreau said. “That’s all I can say.”

Needless to say, the team that mounted the near-comeback down the stretch looked much different than the team that started the game.

After inexcusably taking icing less than 10 seconds into the game, the Wild responded with a couple of dreadful shifts, and the Sharks took advantage as center Logan Couture lifted a shot into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

That was only the beginning an winger Timo Meier made it 2-0 later in the frame, skating untouched into the offensive zone before finishing with a wrist shot in front.

“It was a terrible start,” Eric Staal said. “I’m not going to make any excuses. Just wasn’t good starting with my line. It’s disappointing because we talked about it. We know they like to come out fast and hard in the first period and they did.”

While the Wild responded with some solid play after that, winger Marcus Sorenson ended any thoughts of a potential comeback with a deflection in front to push the lead to 3-0, and defenseman Radim Simek finished off an odd-man rush shortly after that as the lead reached 4-0.

“It was embarrassing to be honest,” Luke Kunin said. “We weren’t happy with that at all.”

That offensive explosion from the Sharks was enough to chase Alex Stalock from the crease as Devan Dubnyk led the Wild out of the tunnel at the start of the second period. That relief appearance marked 500 career games for Dubnyk, a milestone moment that clearly came under less-than-ideal circumstances.

As for the rest of the game, the Wild tried to make things interesting late in the second period with a goal from Kunin to make it 4-1 only to immediately allow winger Tomas Hertl to net an easy power-play goal to push the lead back to 5-2.

That same scenario played out less than a minute later as Staal cut the deficit to 5-2 only to have winger Evander Kane immediately respond with a power-play goal to make it 6-2.

That said, the Wild didn’t give up, and everyone on the bench truly felt that they had a chance to comeback despite the score.

“I thought there was a chance,” Boudreau said. “I told them in between the second period and third period, ‘This isn’t over.’”

It wasn’t. The rally started with a goal from Brad Hunt to make it 6-3, then Ryan Donato almost immediately followed it up with his first goal of the season to make it 6-4.

“It’s almost more disappointing to show that we can play that way against a team like that,” Stalock said of the comeback. “It was a tough start and obviously take a lot of blame for that.”

Things got really interesting down the stretch when Jason Zucker made it 6-5, and as much as the Wild pressured down the stretch, the Sharks ultimately held on for the win.

“You’ve got to keep playing,” Staal said. “We had all the momentum. We had plenty of chances to tie the game. We hit a post. We just didn’t get that last goal.”


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