Zach Parise broke a scoreless tie four minutes and 41 seconds into the third period to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks Saturday at the SAP Center.
The Wild and Sharks played a back-and-forth, fast-paced game throughout the entire game, but the goaltenders were the story. Darcy Kuemper stopped 25 shots to get the shutout for the Wild. Kuemper was forced to make several big saves early in the game to weather the early storm.
His counterpart, Martin Jones was equally good, until Parise notched the game winner. Jones was tested by multiple Wild lines after Mike Yeo changed three of the four lines. When Mikko Koivu was moved to a line that included Charlie Coyle and Thomas Vanek, they created a lot of chances. The best was a breakaway that Vanek shot into the shoulder of Jones.
The Wild (15-7-6) finally broke through early in the third period. Parise was left all alone at the front of the net and got two shots to score his ninth goal of the season. Mikael Granlund fed a pass to the front of the net for Parise through the legs of Sharks defenseman Paul Martin. Jason Pominville also assisted on the goal.
The Sharks (14-14-1) entered the game just ahead of the Wild in goals per game, but also were struggling a bit to score goals in the month. In six games this month, the Sharks have now been shutout twice and average just 1.5 goals per game.
Koivu sealed the victory with an empty net goal with just under 34 seconds remaining. He corralled a pass from Parise at the Wild blue line. He was moving toward open ice in the neutral zone, but cut back to his forehand as Marc-Edouard Vlasic stepped up on him just short of the red line. Koivu slid the puck into the open net from almost right on the center ice face-off dot. Jared Spurgeon recorded the second assist on the goal by deflecting a centering pass to Parise.
No. 3 – Zach Parise. The Wild forward recorded a goal and an assist.
No. 2 – Mikko Koivu. The Wild forward scored a goal.
No. 1 – Darcy Kuemper. The Wild goaltender stopped 25 shots for the shutout.
Minnesota……0 0 2 – 2
San Jose…..…0 0 0 – 0
First Period – None. Penalties – Granlund, MIN (holding), 9:35.
Second Period – None. Penalties – Koivu, MIN (tripping), 1:30; Brown, SJS (boarding), 18:15.
Third Period – 1, Minnesota, Parise 9 (Granlund, Pominville), 4:41. 2, Minnesota, Koivu 5 (Parise, Spurgeon), 19:26 (en). Penalties – None.
Shots on goal – Minnesota 8-8-14 30. San Jose 6-9-10 24.
Goalies – Minnesota, Kuemper (25-25). San Jose, Jones (28-29). Referees – Greg Kimmerly, Tom Kowal. Linesmen – Trent Knorr, Kiel Murchison.