NHL Game Summary - San Jose at Minnesota
(Tuesday, March 23rd)
Final Score: San Jose 4, Minnesota 1
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Dany Heatley was one of four San Jose goal scorers, as the Sharks halted their six-game losing skid with a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Joe Pavelski and Torrey Mitchell also scored for the Sharks, who moved into first place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of the upstart Phoenix Coyotes, who lost 2-0 at Chicago on Tuesday. San Jose is one point behind Chicago in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Evgeni Nabokov made 18 saves while Rob Blake posted three assists in the win.
"We didn't give them as many chances as we have in the past, and we still found a way to win the game," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "But it wasn't easy. It won't be easy from here on in."
Guillaume Latendresse provided the only offense for the Wild, who have dropped three of their last four games and remained nine points back of the final playoff berth in the Western Conference with nine games to play.
Niklas Backstrom allowed three goals on 16 shots in the losing effort.
"They play tough through the neutral zone, and we just didn't generate enough chances the other way," said Wild blueliner Nick Schultz. "They had five guys back, so it's hard for us to generate offense."
After Pavelski opened the scoring at the 5:12 mark of the first period with a blazing one-timer from the right circle, the Sharks grabbed a two-goal lead 8:35 into the second stanza.
Heatley held control of the puck along the left half-wall and skated in toward the net on a partial 2-on-1 break. He cut into the goal mouth area and used his long reach to beat Backstrom from the top of the crease.
Over four minutes later, the Wild cut their deficit in half with a power-play tally. With Mitchell in the penalty box for interference, the hosts worked the puck around the perimeter of their offensive zone. After a save by Nabokov, the puck landed on the stick of Andrew Ebbett in the low slot. With his back facing the net, Ebbett slid a nifty backhand pass to Latendresse for a successful one-timer from the bottom of the right circle at the 12:44 mark.
The Sharks moved ahead 3-1 only 17 seconds into the third. Ryan Clowe's pass from near the right half-wall was perfectly placed for a successful one-timer from the inside the right circle by Mitchell.
Minnesota managed only five shots on goal throughout the final stanza before Joe Thornton's empty-netter inside the final minute capped the scoring.
Pavelski now has 22 goals this season...The Sharks were 0-for-5 on the power play, while the Wild finished 1-for-4 with the extra skater...San Jose will begin a three-game homestand on Thursday against Dallas..This marked the 12th win by San Jose over Minnesota in the last 14 meetings overall...The Sharks have also captured seven of their last eight in Minnesota.
03/23 23:10:38 ET