Minnesota-San Jose: Sharks Chomp Wild 4-1

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Minnesota-San Jose: Sharks Chomp Wild 4-1
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With a spectacular performance from the "Big Three" and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose beat Minnesota in St. Paul 4-1.

San Jose came out and set the pace to start the game, pushing the puck up ice and putting lots of pressure down low.

The pressure pays off early as Joe Pavelski lasered a snap shot top shelf on Niklas Backstrom to take the lead just five minutes into the game.

The Sharks, who tried to end a six-game losing streak and regain their first place spot in the Pacific Divsion, kept Minnesota pinned down in their defensive zone most of the first period.

The Wild responded by cranking up the physical play, but a bad hit by John Scott sent him to the box for boarding and the Sharks to the power play, which they have struggled on during their current losing streak.

Minnesota was successful on the kill and the momentum shifted towards the Wild with a great offensive chance right out of the box.

The momentum caused the Sharks to take a penalty late in the first period.

The Wild had some great chances, but were not able to cash in on the power play as the first period ended with San Jose leading 1-0.

The Wild's Mikko Koviu took an early penalty in the beginning of the second period, and was also injured on the same play.

Minnesota had to juggle the lines with Koivu's departure but it might have helped as many Wild players stepped up and tried to fill the hole left by the injured captain.

However, more pressure from San Jose, and perhaps some frustration, led Minnesota to another penalty, one thing they cannot do if they expect to keep in the race for the playoffs.

San Jose took a penalty for hooking, but was offset by a penalty to Latandresse.

In the 4-4, Dany Heatley beat the pinch of Brent Burns and drove right to the net and tucked in a goal behind Backstrom to increase the lead to 2-0.

After the goal by Heatley, San Jose controlled most of the play as Minnesota seemed to be out of gas.

Tori Mitchell took a penalty halfway through the period to give Minnesota a chance to get one back, a goal they need to have if they were going to get back in the game.

The Wild took advantage with Nabokov down; Guillaume Lantendresse blasts one home on the power play to cut the lead in half 2-1.

Minnesota rode the momentum after the goal and controlled most of the play the rest of the period, and the second ended with the same score 2-1.

However, just 17 seconds into the third period, Tori Mitchell buried a one-timer behind Backstrom to make it 3-1 Sharks.

Minnesota tried to bounce back with some great offensive pressure by forcing the puck deep and winning some foot races to the puck, something the Wild had not done well all game long.

The rest of the third was dominated by San Jose, and after an empty net goal by Joe Thornton, the Sharks buried the Wild for a 4-1 final.

Minnesota will travel to Philadelphia on Thursday to take on the Flyers, while San Jose returns home for a three-game homestand starting with Dallas.

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