NHL: Thornton goal in OT lifts Sharks past Wild, 3-2

San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE – Joe Thornton’s second goal of the game gave the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 overtime victory over the visiting Minnesota Wild.
The captain drilled a high shot from the top of the left circle past goaltender Darcy Kuemper to give the home club a sixth consecutive victory. The four-game homestand closes Monday at 7 p.m. against the Los Angeles Kings.
Joe Pavelski kept the Sharks’ scoring threat alive by chasing down the puck at the left point and then keeping Wild Jason Pominville away from the puck before sliding it to Thornton.
“What a steal,” Thornton said of Pavelski’s play at the blueline. “Just the poise to hold onto it until I made the zone.”
After the Wild produced a 2-0 lead after 25 minutes of play, the Sharks responded with two goals in a span of 49 seconds to leave the teams even at the end of two periods.
Despite accounting for only three of the game’s first 11 shots on net, the Wild earned a 1-0 lead 9:33 into the first period.
Wild winger Matt Cooke was in full stride outside the San Jose blueline when he garnered a hard cross-ice pass by Joe Thornton that was intended for defenseman Brad Stuart. Cooke stayed ahead of a chasing Stuart before gliding across the bottom of the slot to whip a shot between Antti Niemi’s pads at the 9:33 mark.
Defenseman Keith Ballard scored his first goal of the season 4:16 into the second period for a 2-0 Minnesota cushion. Center Mikael Granlund keyed the scoring play by controlling the puck behind the Sharks net before dishing to Ballard at the bottom of the right circle for the flick shot under Niemi’s right arm.
Thornton opened the San Jose scoring with his seventh goal of the year at 11:12 of the second. Matt Irwin, who assisted on both second-period goals for San Jose, sent the puck behind the Wild net. Pavelski found an advancing Thornton down the slot for his 24th assist of the year.
The next shift made it a 2-2 game. Tommy Wingels skated along the left boards in the Wild zone, preparing to shoot. When a Minnesota defender’s stick stopped the attempted shot, Wingels was able to direct the puck to Patrick Marleau for the quick shot inside the right post.
The win gave San Jose a 2-1 edge in the season series. Each team had a 3-1 home win in December.

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