The Minnesota Wild were looking for a boost after Friday's dismissal of Bruce Boudreau and as interim head coach Dean Evason made his head coaching debut, Minnesota was looking to take a couple points off a struggling Sharks team. Instead, the Wild had an uninspiring effort at the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday afternoon dropping another critical game by a score of 2-0.
The afternoon began with a pre-game celebration as the team recognized Zach Parise for his 1,000th career game. After presenting the veteran with a silver stick to commemorate the achievement, which took place on Feb. 7 in Dallas, Minnesota took the ice hoping to find a spark under their interim head coach.
While the Wild came out with some energy by killing a pair of penalties including a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the game, it didn't translate to the scoresheet as they battled with the Sharks for a scoreless opening frame.
As the two teams battled throughout a scoreless second period, the Wild held a 24-14 advantage in shots but never seemed to put pressure on Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, who came into Saturday with a 1-9-1 record and 3.70 GAA in his past 11 starts.
The third period finally saw some action, but it was in favor of the Sharks when former Wild defenseman Brent Burns knuckled a puck off the elbow of Dylan Gambrell for Gambrell's third goal of the season to put San Jose ahead 1-0.
That would be enough as Melker Karlsson added an empty-net goal and Jones made 39 saves to get the shutout and his first win since Dec. 28 and second since November.
This was not the performance that General Manager Bill Guerin was looking for after Friday's dismissal of Boudreau and as the Feb. 24 trade deadline continues to creep closer, it's fair to wonder which Wild players may be playing themselves on the trading block with a game like this.
The loss is also a crucial one as the Wild look to make a late run into the Western Conference playoff race as they continue to sit three points behind the Arizona Coyotes for the final wild card spot. Minnesota will try to get back into the win column as they kick off a two-game west coast road trip in Vancouver on Wednesday night.