NHL Game Summary - Minnesota at San Jose
(Tuesday, December 6th)
Final Score: Minnesota 2, San Jose 1
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Pierre-Marc Bouchard's late first-period goal held up for Minnesota thanks to Matt Hackett's stellar debut between the pipes, as the Wild earned a 2-1 win over the Sharks.
Hackett was forced into action after Nick Schultz inadvertently collided with Josh Harding in the first period. Harding, starting in place of the injured Niklas Backstrom, gave up a goal to Joe Pavelski one minute into the game, but Hackett turned aside 34 shots to pick up a win in his first NHL appearance.
Mikko Koivu had a goal and an assist for Minnesota, which has rattled off three straight wins.
Antti Niemi made 19 saves for San Jose, which has dropped four of its last five.
"There are still things we need to work on and get better at, but our overall game is improving," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said.
Pavelski batted a rebound out of the air for the early lead, and seconds later, Schultz run into a bent-over Harding and forced him out of the game.
Koivu tied it by backhanding a rebound through Niemi's pads with 2:19 remaining in the opening period, then set up the eventual game-winner with a cross-ice pass, as Bouchard's wrister from the left circle hit the top shelf with 11.6 seconds showing.
Hackett, recalled from Houston of the AHL on December 3, was peppered with 15 shots in the final 18:49 of the opening period, stopped 10 shots in the middle stanza, and posted nine stops in the final frame.
Minnesota had lost five straight in San Jose...The Wild have three five-game winning streaks this season...Backstrom is suffering from a strained groin.
12/07 02:47:45 ET