Zach Parise scores twice to lead Wild in win over Sharks
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Josh Harding made 37 saves in another strong home outing, and the Minnesota Wild beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Sunday night despite recording only 13 shots.
Zach Parise scored twice — once into an empty net — and Mikko Koivu added a goal for the Wild, who have won three of four.
Patrick Marleau scored with 1:41 left for San Jose, which went 1-3 on a four-game trip. The Sharks, who have lost three in a row in regulation for the first time this season, are 0-5-1 in their last six games in Minnesota.
Antti Niemi made 10 saves.
Parise and Koivu scored second-period goals to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead. Parise pushed the Wild’s edge back to two goals when he scored at 19:54.
Harding, who improved to 13-1 at home, is 16-4-3 overall. He entered the game with an NHL-best 1.52 goals-against average, and he moved into a second-place tie with Niemi and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury for most wins.
It was the second straight game Minnesota allowed a high number of shots. The Wild were outshot 41-20 in a 4-0 loss at Columbus on Friday.
Harding didn’t play in that game, and he was more than up to the task against the Sharks. He was at his best in the second period, stopping 21 shots, including quickly getting his glove up to rob Joe Pavelski on a slap shot from the left circle. The Sharks had just six shots in the third period.
Two days after Sharks coach Todd McLellan questioned his team’s energy level following a 5-3 loss in Carolina, San Jose came out more aggressive.
The Sharks got the puck deep in the offensive end and outshot Minnesota 11-5 in the first period. Despite Harding giving up a number of prime rebounds, the Sharks couldn’t score.
However, a rebound led to Parise’s first goal early in the second period.
With Jason Pominville about to crash into him, Niemi blocked a slap shot from Marco Scandella, but the rebound was picked up by Parise in front. He quickly shifted the puck to his backhand and put a shot into the empty net.
Koivu made it 2-0 a little more than four minutes later. He received a drop pass from Jared Spurgeon just inside the San Jose blue line, cut to his left, and beat Niemi with a wrist shot on the stick side.
Niemi was pulled for an extra skater with 2:15 to play, and Marleau got the Sharks on the board by squeezing a rebound between Harding and the left post.
Notes: The teams will meet again Thursday at San Jose. . . . Seven of Minnesota’s next eight games are on the road. . . . Wild fourth-line center Zenon Konopka returned after sitting as a healthy scratch the previous two games. . . . San Jose RW Marty Havlat was scratched. No reason was given, but he limped off the ice after blocking a shot Friday in Carolina. . . . Minnesota is 14-0-3 when leading after two periods.