Brent Burns took matters into his own hands on Sunday night to give the San Jose Sharks their biggest win of the young season.
Burns scored a stunning goal with 1:48 in the third half to give the Sharks an exciting 5-3 win over Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.
After a pass win from Tomas Hertl, Burns took control of the puck, grabbed the Minnesota net and shot past Wild goalkeeper Kaapo Kahkonen for his second goal of the season.
The Sharks had returned a two goal lead they had in the middle of the second half. But Burns’ skillful individual effort helped the Sharks share the two-game streak with the Wild and even set their season record 3: 3: 0.
« Such people, elite players, find ways to to make big differences in the game and that was it, « said Sharks coach Bob Boughner. « We needed that. »
Sharks winger Ryan Donato had one goal and as an assistant against his former team and goalkeeper, Martin Jones made 26 saves for his second straight win. Matt Nieto added an empty net goal with 28.7 seconds to go as the Sharks can kick off their two-game series with the Colorado Avalanche this week with a little momentum.
Burns’ goal was his 40th career winner, making him the eighth defender in NHL history to plateau.
« I thought this was probably our best game we have played so far and the most complete, » said Burns of the win. “Competing hard. That would have been hard to lose. You lose the first game, you have to win the second game. It was nice to get that and to feel good about it.
« I think the game came. We were tough competition and this is one you would hate if you couldn’t get away with two points. «
Evander Kane and Noah Gregor both scored a goal for the Sharks in the second half, with Kane’s power play goal at 6:39 in the second half breaking a 12:12 skid that San Jose had scored with the man advantage .
Gregors goal, his first of the season, came with 11:34 in the second period.
Zach Parise, Nick Bjugstad and Kevin Fiala scored a goal for the Wild (4-2-0), who had their best start after five games since the 4-0-1 in the 2008/09 season.
After their streak in Denver, the Sharks will fly to Phoenix on February 1st and 3rd to play two games as the home team against the Vegas Golden Knights. On Saturday, the Sharks announced that they were moving these games from the SAP Center to the Gila River Arena in Glendale due to the ongoing contact sports ban in Santa Clara County.
Donato, who played 84 games for the Wild from 2018 to 2020 before being traded to the Sharks in October, drew 1-1 in the 19:02 first-half win. His support for Kane’s goal
Jones came on Sunday with a 2-1-0 record and a savings of 0.893 percent. On Wednesday, Jones stopped 22 of 23 shots in a 2-1 Sharks shootout win over the St. Louis Blues.
In his last five starts against the Wilds in the last two seasons, Jones had a 5-0 record, savings of 0.943 percent and 1.60 goals against average.
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Kirill Kaprizov’s dazzling shot attempt is reminiscent of a young Tomas Hertl
The two teams were determined 1-1 after the first half when Donato scored his second season with 19:02 in the first half.
Erik Karlsson falsified a shot towards goal and found Kevin Labanc with a sharp pass to Labanc in the corner to Kahkonen’s left. Labanc then fed Donato a short backhand pass and Donato shot on goal, deflected off Jared Spurgeon’s leg and between the pads by Kahkonen.
The Wild were outbid by the Sharks 12-3 in the first half, but their first shot found its way past Jones as Parise scored in his second straight game.