May 30, 2024
Loss to Minnesota Wild ensures San Jose Sharks will have a 25.5 percent chance of winning NHL Draft Lottery and selecting Macklin Celebrini

SAN JOSE – The San Jose Sharks played their final home game of the season on Saturday — and the result was a familiar one for anybody who has followed the team the last two seasons.

The Sharks allowed two goals to Kirill Kaprizov in just 47 seconds late in the second period, turning what had been a close game into just another home loss, as the Minnesota Wild earned a 6-2 win before an announced sellout crowd of 17,435 on Fan Appreciation Night at SAP Center.

Jan Rutta and Mario Ferraro scored for the Sharks, who lost at home for the 30th time in 41 home games this season — only a slight improvement from the 33 losses they had at their west downtown arena a year ago.

The one positive for the big picture crowd – the Sharks are now locked into 32nd and last place in the NHL’s overall standings, meaning they will have a 25.5% percent chance of winning next month’s NHL draft lottery.

The top player available is ex-Jr. Sharks star Macklin Celebrini, who won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player after a standout freshman season at Boston University.

“He’s got high skill but he’s got a heart and hardness to him that allows him to be a different type of player,” Sharks coach David Quinn said of Celebrini.

“When I watch him, I think of Jonathan Toews a lot. Maybe a little bit more skill. But Toews was an incredible player. I remember watching him at Shattuck when he was 15 and 30 was very similar to what Macklin does. I think the Hobey Baker voters got it right.”

The Sharks, with 47 points, trail the 31st-place Chicago Blackhawks by four points with two games left to play, starting with Monday’s road date with the Edmonton Oilers.

Even if the Sharks (19-52-9) win their last two games and finish with the same number of points as the Blackhawks, they would still fall short in the first tiebreaker, regulation time wins. San Jose would have 16, while Chicago already has 17.

This is only the second time in Sharks franchise history that they’ve finished at the bottom of the NHL standings. The other time was in the organization’s first season in 1991-1992 when the NHL was a 22-team league and San Jose finished 17-58-5 for 39 points, 13 points fewer than the 21st-place Quebec Nordiques.

The NHL, though, had already agreed to give the league’s two new expansion teams, Tampa Bay and Ottawa, the first two choices in the 1992 draft.

The Sharks have never drafted first overall.

One thing we know about the Sharks: They do not want to have another season like this for a long, long time.

Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood made 32 saves and didn’t get a ton of help from the skaters in front of him, as the Sharks have now allowed six or more goals 17 times this season. They are last in the NHL with 212 goals against during 5 on 5 play.

The turning point on Saturday was not hard to pick out.

Mario Ferraro cut Minnesota’s lead to 3-2 at the 15:52 mark of the second period, as, on a Sharks rush, he one-timed a pass from William Eklund past Wild goalie Jesper Wallstedt.

But late in the second period, the Sharks were called for icing, something that was completely preventable.

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That kept the Sharks’ fourth line on the ice and allowed Minnesota’s top line to come on. After the Wild won a faceoff, they worked it around before Kaprizov’s shot from the point went off Rutta, the post and off Blackwood before the puck crossed the line for a 4-2 Minnesota lead.

After Zetterlund was called for high sticking, Kaprizov scored on the power play, as he was left alone in the slot before he took a pass from Joel Eriksson Ek and scored his 44th of the year.

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