Wild fall 4-3 to Sharks on late third-period goal
SAN JOSE, Calif. — When the game is on the line, Joe Pavelski just has a knack for finding the net.
Pavelski scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:28 remaining for his league-leading eighth game-winner this season, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Saturday for their seventh win in eight games.
"Great players make great plays at the right time, and he’s one of those guys," coach Peter DeBoer said. "He thrives in those moments. He wants to be out there in those moments. That’s not an accident that happens to guys like that."
Tomas Hertl, Joonas Donskoi and Joel Ward also scored to help the Sharks extend their season-high point streak to eight games. San Jose has used its longest point streak since going 7-0-1 in March 2014 to move into second place in the Pacific Division.
Martin Jones made 25 saves to help San Jose improve to 4-0-1 in the past five home games after a 5-12 start at the Shark Tank this season.
"We’ve got a reputation of playing pretty well in this building, and we haven’t played that well this year," forward Logan Couture said. "It’s nice to start winning again. We’re on a nice little streak right now."
Chris Porter, Charlie Coyle and Jarret Stoll scored for the Wild, who have lost six of their past seven games. Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves but could not stop Pavelski’s game-winner.
"That is a real tough way to lose a hockey game," coach Mike Yeo said. "It’s disappointing because at that point, you think you’re good to get a point."
Joe Thornton won a faceoff in the offensive zone to Pavelski, who beat Kuemper with a wrist shot for his 23rd goal of the season. Pavelski said teams are scrambling right after a faceoff and he just wanted to get the puck on net.
"It kind of worked out perfect there," said Pavelski, who added two assists. "I don’t think he saw it until the end. It definitely wasn’t going to beat him with its speed. Good feeling to see that one go in."
Stoll had tied the game midway through the third when he knocked a rebound on Jonas Brodin’s shot past Jones for his second goal in the past three games.
"A tight game like that, late in the game, you want to at least get a point," Stoll said. "You have to lock these games down. The last minutes of any period is huge, not just the third. It’s very frustrating."
The Sharks had scored twice in the second period for a 3-2 lead. The first came on the power play when Ward sent a cross-ice pass to Donskoi, who beat Kuemper with a one-timer as San Jose’s second power-play unit came through again.
Just 1:38 later, Donskoi missed the net on a chance in transition but the puck came off the back boards to Couture, who tipped it to Ward, who knocked it in with a backhand for his 14th goal of the season.
The Wild fell behind in the opening minutes when Hertl banked a wraparound attempt off Kuemper and into the net. But Minnesota rallied with goals from Porter and Coyle in the second half of the period to take the lead after one.
Coyle’s came on the power play, giving the Wild man-advantage goals in two straight games after coming up empty in 25 straight chances.
NOTES: Minnesota F Jason Pominville played in his 800th career game. … Former Sharks D Gary Suter dropped the ceremonial first puck with his nephew, Minnesota D Ryan Suter, taking the draw. … Thornton had two assists to give him 930 in his career, moving past Larry Murphy for 16th place on the NHL career list. Thornton has 22 points in his past 17 games.