SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Devin Setoguchi scored a pair of goals in the second period to help the San Jose Sharks match a season high with their fourth straight win, 4-3 over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Logan Couture and Benn Ferriero also scored for the Sharks, who had lost six straight before this current win streak put them back in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. Antti Niemi made 23 saves for San Jose.
Mikko Koivu scored two power-play goals and Brent Burns had a goal and two assists for the Wild, who also had won three straight games. Minnesota outscored the opposition 14-1 during the winning streak but fell short for the first time in three meetings this season against San Jose.
The Sharks used a dominant second period to get this win. They had the first 10 shots of the period and peppered Niklas Backstrom with 25 overall in the frame to take a 3-2 lead.
Backstrom came up big throughout the period just to keep Minnesota close, with perhaps his best save coming early when he slid across the goal mouth to rob Joe Pavelski on a one-timer to preserve a 1-1 tie.
That didn’t last long as Setoguchi struck twice after going nine games without a goal. His first came after a great effort from Patrick Marleau, who took a long pass from Dan Boyle and stickhandled though a couple of Minnesota defenders before getting the puck to Setoguchi. Backstrom stopped Setoguchi’s first shot but Setoguchi stayed with it and knocked the rebound into the empty net.
Then with Clayton Stoner off for holding, Setoguchi artfully deflected Joe Pavelski’s point shot past Backstrom to make it 3-1 with his ninth goal. That goal wasn’t official until after a video review determined Setoguchi’s stick was not too high for the deflection.
Koivu answered with his second goal of the night when his backhander trickled through Niemi. But the Wild could not get the equalizer on a late power play, which was a bad omen considering they had won just once in 19 games this season when trailing after two periods.
That win came against the Sharks late last month, when Minnesota used three third-period goals against Antero Niittymaki to beat San Jose 5-3.
There was no such comeback this time as the Sharks killed off an early power play, Niemi made a tough stop on a point shot from Stoner and then Ferriero added the insurance goal early in the third after Joe Thornton did a good job keeping the puck in the offensive zone.
Burns got Minnesota back within a goal with 3:25 to play, but the Wild could not complete the comeback.
The teams traded goals in the first period. The Sharks took advantage of a bad line change for Couture’s goal. The Wild capitalized on a penalty for too many men on the ice to get Koivu’s goal on the two-man advantage.
NOTES: The Sharks posted a team-record 25 shots in the second period for the second straight game. … The team with more shots had lost the past seven times these teams met. … Backstrom has allowed at least three goals in all six starts he has made in San Jose.
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