Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom has 20 shutouts in his career, but just one of those have come this season. That was a 36-save effort versus the visiting Sharks on Nov. 2 that helped Minnesota snap both a five-game overall and three-game home losing streak to San Jose.
Minnesota earned just its second victory in its last 10 home games versus San Jose.
Backstrom notched a career-high eight shutouts in 2008-09, but had just two a season ago. He is 3-7-2 with a 2.95 goals-against in his career versus the Sharks and had a personal three-game win streak end on Sunday in a loss to Detroit.
With the Wild in action again the following night, Jose Theodore got the call in an eventual 4-3 shootout loss to the Blue Jackets. Theodore ended with 19 saves but failed to stop any of Columbus’ three shootout skaters.
Cal Clutterbuck scored the game-tying goal with 8:22 left in regulation and both Chuck Kobasew and Mikko Koivu added goals, but the Wild went 0-for-7 on the power play and dropped a second straight game.
“I don’t think we let up. It’s hockey. They’re allowed to score some goals too and I think we played a great 60-minute game and lost in a shootout,” said Koivu.
Minnesota begins a three-game homestand tonight and has lost four of its last five as the host.
The Sharks, meanwhile, start up a three-game swing tonight and are coming off their fifth shutout defeat of the season. They were blanked just twice last year en route to a 51-win, 113-point season.
Antti Niemi made 30 saves through the first two periods of Monday’s 4-0 loss to the Kings, but he made just three saves on seven shots in the third as San Jose saw its season-best four-game win streak end.
“I’m just embarrassed,” Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. “It was a terrible effort. A lot of us took the night off and as important a game that is, it’s not right.”
San Jose has won four of its last six on the road.
Antero Niittymaki made 15 saves in the tough-luck loss to the Wild in November and is 3-1-0 with a 1.73 GAA versus them. Niemi has won his only other career start versus the Wild, posting a 21-save shutout while with Chicago on March 31 of last season.