Wild score 4 times in third to rally past Sharks


SAN JOSE – Minnesota continued to climb atop the Central Division standings Thursday night by rallying past the San Jose Sharks 5-4 at sold-out SAP Center.
San Jose came into the contest with a 16-1-1 record when leading after two periods. The Wild trailed 2-1 through two periods, then pulled even 2:08 into the third period before giving up the next two goals. Minnesota shook off its second two-goal deficit of the night by accounting for the game’s final three goals.
San Jose, winless in the past three games, completes the three-game homestand Saturday at7:30pm against Detroit.
The Wild scored four goals in the third period, including Zach Parise’s follow-up of a Nino Niederreiter slapshot from the left flank that goaltender Martin Jones initially turned back.
San Jose regrouped to find the net twice within a span of 32 seconds for the 4-2 edge. Joel Ward was parked in front of the Wild net when he deflected a shot from Brent Burns, then pulled the rebound by goaltender Devan Dubnyk for the goal at 3:49.
After Patrick Marleau assisted on Ward’s goal, Marleau looped around the left flank on a 3-on-2 rush and sent a shot between Dubnyk’s pads at 4:21 to make it 4-2.
A Parise shot from the left boards produced a soft rebound at the right circle that center Eric Staal turned into his second goal of the night at 5:06 as the Wild began a three-goal flurry.
Captain Mikko Koivu scored the final two goals. Koivu’s rebound of a Mikael Granlund shot from the right post evened the score at 8:23. Koivu was unmarked atop the right circle at 10:18 when a Granlund shot from the left circle left the rebound that Koivu turned into the deciding slapshot.
After a scoreless first period, the Sharks opened the scoring on a Joonas Donskoi even-strength goal 9:37 into the second period. Brenden Dillon and Kevin Labanc each controlled the puck entering the Wild zone before Donskoi delivered a low shot from the right circle inside the right post by Devan Dubnyk.
The teams were skating 4-on-4 at 11:23 of the second period when Joe Pavelski won an offensive zone face-off. Pavelski charged toward the net and was able to redirect a Dubnyk stop past the goalie’s right pad and into the net for the 2-0 lead at 11:27.
The Wild came into the game tied for the most goals in the Central Division. The visitors were able to snap the deadlock with Winnipeg when Staal scored from the high slot at 18:59 while on a power play.
The Wild had a 12-game winning streak ended on New Year’s Eve by a 4-2 loss to the Metropolitan Division’s top club, Columbus. Minnesota’s hot run for December left the Wild second among all teams in the Western Conference nearing the midway point in the season.
The Sharks placed 24-year-old winger Matt Nieto on waivers Wednesday and the Colorado Avalanche claimed him on Thursday.
Nieto began his NHL career in 2013 and played 221 games for San Jose, collecting 28 goals and 42 assists. The Long Beach native also scored three goals in 23 career playoff games. Nieto played three seasons for Boston University, including a career-high 18 goals in 39 games as a junior. Nieto played 16 games this season for the Sharks, recording two assists. He was a second-round pick by San Jose in 2011.
The Sharks also brought up defenseman Tim Heed from the Barracuda of the AHL. Heed was tied for first place among all AHL defensemen with 30 points through 27 games. Veteran defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was placed on Injured Reserve on Jan. 2.