Center Joe Pavelski scored two of San Jose's season-high three
power-play goals as the Sharks snapped a four-game winless streak
with a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
"Three is good, it won us a game tonight," Sharks coach Todd
The Sharks converted three of seven power-play chances, including
two in the opening period. In addition, they snuffed out all three
Minnesota power plays. The fact San Jose had that many man-advantage
chances did not please Wild coach Mike Yeo.
"It must be nice to draw penalties like that," Yeo said. "To me
that's embarrassing. I guess we've got to ask our players to
Goaltender Antti Niemi stopped 29 of 30 shots. His bid for a third
shutout of the season and 26th of his career was denied at the 12:36
mark of the third period when Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin's
shot from the middle of the blue line ricocheted off the chest of
Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart and past Niemi.
"This is why I'm pissed off because our guys battled hard tonight
and we didn't do enough," Yeo said.
As has been their habit of late, the Sharks ran out to an early 2-0
lead, converting two of four power-play chances in the opening
period while outshooting the travel-weary Wild 16-9.
The Sharks led 16 of their 32 games 2-0, and 14 times that's been
the score after 20 minutes.
Minnesota's march to the penalty box started early when at 5:14
right winger Justin Fontaine was called for a high stick on Stuart.
It took the hosts just 40 seconds to convert when Pavelski's
one-time shot from the left point sailed past a screen set in front
of Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom by left winger Patrick Marleau for
his 11th goal.
Minnesota was on the verge of killing consecutive minors that
included being short-handed by two men for two minutes when rookie
left winger Tomas Hertl scored with four seconds left on a 5-on-4.
"Tomas was good, he showed more energy tonight than recently,"
Brodin turned the pick over to right winger Tommy Wingels, who
shoveled a short pass to Hertl, who punched his team-leading 15th
goal from the slot past Backstrom at 14:43.
"That's not the way you want to start a game. We know they're a
tough team to play at home," Minnesota right winger Jason Pominville
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San Jose scored the only goal of the second period, again
with the man advantage, which accounted for 18 of the team's 32
shots through two periods.
Minnesota center Zenon Konopka was sent off for a high-sticking
double minor when in fact it appeared the stick of left winger
Freddie Hamilton cut teammate defenseman Jason Demers instead of
the Minnesota forward's stick.
"I don't remember the last time I high-sticked someone," Konopka
said. "I told him they were making the wrong call, but what are
you going to do? Of course they scored on it."
Pavelski netted his second power-play goal of the game and 13th
goal of the season by pouncing on a rebound left on defenseman
Matt Irwin's one-time drive from the left point at 3:42.
San Jose kept Minnesota off the board with a spirited
late-period penalty kill that included two Sharks breaking
sticks and somehow keeping the Wild at bay. It was Hertl's first
career penalty that put the Sharks down a man.
"We've just got to keep on battling," Yeo said. "We just played
a team that lost four in a row. Everyone goes through it."
NOTES: Sharks coach Todd McLellan reunited C Joe Pavelski with
LW Matt Nieto and RW Tommy Wingels for the first time since the
first 16 games of the season. San Jose went 10-1-5 while the
third line was intact, but injuries and player movement
necessitated moves since. ... RW Brett Bulmer, 21, was recalled
from AHL Iowa and arrived in time from his flight from
Vancouver, British Columbia, to play for the Wild. ... Minnesota
C Mikael Granlund (concussion) was out. ... Injured RW Raffi
Torres (right ACL surgery), RW Adam Burish (back surgery) and D
Scott Hannan (upper body) remain out for San Jose. ... The Wild
complete a three-game trip Saturday in Denver against the
Colorado Avalanche, while the Sharks embark on a three-game trip
starting Saturday against the Nashville Predators. ... LW James
Sheppard and C John McCarthy were healthy scratches for the
Sharks, while LW Jason Zucker, LW Mike Rupp and D Nate Prosser
did not dress for Minnesota.
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