– When the Colorado Avalanche lost to the Boston Bruins 6-2
Saturday afternoon, the result meant that the winner of Saturday
night’s meeting between the host San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild
would move into eighth place in the Western Conference
SAN JOSE – When the Colorado Avalanche lost to the Boston Bruins 6-2 Saturday afternoon, the result meant that the winner of Saturday night’s meeting between the host San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild would move into eighth place in the Western Conference standings.
The Sharks emerged with a 4-3 victory to reach 55 points, one ahead of the Avalanche and one behind the Chicago Blackhawks.
Devin Setoguchi scored twice in the second period and Benn Ferriero added an insurance goal in the third period for the winners.
San Jose plays once next week, a road test in Los Angeles Wednesday night against the Pacific Division’s cellar-dwelling Kings. Following the All-Star Weekend, the Sharks host the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday Feb. 1 before beginning a seven-game road trip on Feb. 2 in Anaheim.
Logan Couture opened the scoring with his team-high 22nd goal of the season for the Sharks. Jason Demers intercepted a dump-in in the Wild zone and sent the puck up the ice to Couture. The rookie jetted toward the right face-off circle before wristing a hard shot inside the right post past goalie Niklas Backstrom at 11:33 of the first period.
Minnesota came into the game owning a power play goal in each of its past six games against San Jose. The Wild, producing the league’s third-best power play on the road (22.4 per cent), immediately improved that figure by scoring on a 5-on-3 power play at 13:19 of the first period. Douglas Murray was whistled for cross-checking at 12:21 and the Sharks were called for too many men on the ice at 13:09. Minnesota used 10 seconds to set up Mikko Koivu’s slapshot from the right point past goalie Antti Niemi.
San Jose produced 25 shots on net in the second period, one off the franchise mark for shots in one period. Setoguchi handled the scoring with an even-strength goal at 3:56 and a power play goal at 6:36 for a 3-1 San Jose cushion.
Setoguchi’s first goal came at the end of a 2-on-1 rush that Patrick Marleau anchored. The next goal was the result of Setoguchi setting up in the low slot and redirecting Joe Pavelski’s slapshot over Backstrom’s shoulder.
Minnesota made it 3-2 when Koivu scored his second goal of the night at 7:27 while on a power play.
San Jose added the game-winner at 3:57 of the third when Joe Thornton hustled to keep the puck in the offensive zone, finding Ferriero open near the left post for the deciding goal.
Minnesota responded with a third goal at 16:35 when Brent Burns spun near the right corner of the San Jose zone and lofted a shot over Niemi from a tough angle.
San Jose, owner of a four-game winning streak, finished with a 42-26 edge in shots on net.