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Back on track
Power play propels Sharks over Wild
12/12/13 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks kicked things into gear on Thursday night at the SAP Center, closing out their brief two-game homestand with a 3-1 win over the Mininesota Wild. The Sharks avenged a loss to the same Wild by the same score four days earlier. San Jose made use of 7 Wild penalties, converting on three power play chances to generate all the scoring they would need. Joe Pavelski powered the offense with a pair of goals.

* The Sharks opened the scoring 5:54 into the game after Justin Fontaine was sent off for high sticking Brad Stuart. Joe Pavelski scored his 11th goal on a wrist shot from the top of the left circle, slipping the puck between Wild goaltender NIklas Backstrom's pads. Patrick Marleau may have caught Backstrom's attention as he hovered around the crease.

* Fontaine put the Wild in another predicament later in the period, when he was called for holding Joe Thornton. Matt Cooke tripped Thornton 31 seconds later to setup a partial 5-on-3 power play for San Jose. Tomas Hertl scored his 15th goal of the season just before Cooke's penalty expired. The youngster took a drop pass from Tommy Wingels in the slot and snapped a shot off the left post.

* Antti Niemi denied Wild forward Jared Spurgeon with a crazy save late in the period, stopping a shot with his right arm. Spurgeon put a one-time chance in on net from the left dot, but Niemi managed to slide to his right and get the limb out to keep the Wild off the board.

* Logan Couture missed adding to his goal scoring totals when his shot with 1.8 seconds left in the period rang off the crossbar.

* Minnesota found themselves on the raw end of a bad call early in the 2nd period when Zenon Konopka was called for cutting Jason Demers with a high stick. Sharks rookie Freddie Hamilton was actually the guilty party, but Konopka was sent off for a lengthy 4-minute penalty. Pavelski was the beneficiary of the officials gaff, when he collected a rebound in the slot before whipping a shot past Backstrom to put the Sharks up 3-0.

* Tomas Hertl took his first career penalty as an NHL player in the 2nd period when he was called for holding Jonas Brodin. San Jose bailed out the rookie by killing the penalty. Hertl made up for things by beating Ryan Suter to a puck that would have been called an icing after he existed the penalty box.

* Couture's tough night got worse midway through the 3rd period, when a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot caught him on the forehead. Couture fell to the ice, then slammed his gloves off before steaming to the locker room to get patched up. He finished the night with 8 shots on goal, not including the shot he rang off the crossbar.

* Another shot hit Brad Stuart in the chest, redirecting past Niemi for the Wild's 1st goal at 12:36. Brodin uncorked a blast from the blueline, catching Stuart for the bank shot goal.

* Former Shark Torrey Mitchell had a golden opportunity to cut further into the sharks lead when San Jose turned the puck over deep in their own end. Kyle Brodziak stepped in front of a puck near the left corner before hitting a Mitchell with a pass in the slot. The Winger tried to draw the puck to his forehand, but lost control of it as he raced in on the Sharks goal mouth.

* Niemi finished the evening with 29 saves. Backstrom stopped 36 of 39 shots on the evening.

* Joe Thornton finished the evening with a pair assists, moving him into a tie with Michel Goulet for 49th place on the all-time scoring list with 1,152 points.

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Scoring
1 2 3 T
MIN 0 0 1 1
SJ 2 1 0 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 11 (Boyle, Thornton), 5:54, (pp). 2, SJ, Hurtl 15 (Wingels) 14:43, (pp).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Pavelski 12 (Irwin, Thornton), 3:42, (pp).
3rd period - 4, SJ, Brodin 6 (Fontaine, Coyle), 12:36.
Penalties
1st period - Fontaine, MIN (high sticking), 5:14; Konopka, MIN (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:05; Desjardins, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:05; SUter, MIN (interference), 9:10; Fontaine, MIN (holding), 12:16; Cooke, MIN (tripping), 12:47; Demers, SJ (cross checking), 15:23.
2nd period - Konopka, MIN (high sticking - double minor), 2:11; Hertl, SJ (holding), 15:07.
3rd period - Stoner, MIN (holding), 1:37; KEnnedy, SJ (hooking), 4:19.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
MIN - Backstrom 39 36
SJ - Niemi 30 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
MIN 9 10 11 30
SJ 16 16 7 39
Power Play Conversion
MIN 0 of 3
SJ 3 of 7
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Antti Niemi
Logan Couture
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: Joannette, Kozari. Linesmen: Henderson, Nansen.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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