ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild have found the scoring
touch at home this season.
"This team has confidence, especially at home," said Wild
right wing Marian Gaborik, who had two assists in his season debut.
"Everybody is on the same page."
The five goals were a Minnesota record for any period.
Derek Boogaard's first NHL goal put the Wild ahead for good
early in the third, and Marc Chouinard, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Todd
White and Filip Kuba then scored for Minnesota in its second
White had two assists for the Wild, who went 3-1 on their
four-game homestand, outscoring opponents 19-7.
Nicholas Dimitrakos scored for the Sharks, who have lost the
first two games of a six-game road trip. Evgeni Nabokov made 19
saves for San Jose.
Boogaard, a rookie left wing known more for enforcing than
scoring, notched the game-winner 2:10 into the third period when he
took a cross-ice pass from Kyle Wanvig in front of the net and
knocked the puck past Nabokov.
Boogaard, who later in the final period got into a scuffle with
Sharks defenseman Rob Davison, scored a total of five goals in five
minor league seasons.
"Anytime Boogey comes up with a goal like that, you've got to
thank God," Fernandez said. "He just seemed to get our group
riled up in the third period."
Chouinard got a shorthanded goal on a breakaway a little over
two minutes after Boogaard's goal, and Bouchard scored at 8:03 to
give him goals in four straight games. By the time White and Kuba
added goals, Nabokov had allowed five of the first seven shots he
faced in the third past him.
"I just asked them to play," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said
about the second intermission. "That's why we're named the Wild.
We're wild. Awful period, then great period."
San Jose coach Ron Wilson was in a less humorous mood after the
"We shot ourselves in the foot," he said. "We had some guys
with off nights who made some mistakes they normally don't make."
The game seemed destined to be a low-scoring one after the teams
struggled offensively in the first two periods.
Minnesota scored first, with 5:18 left in the opening period,
when Gaborik made a beautiful backhanded pass from behind the net
to Willie Mitchell, who slammed home a one-timer from the slot past
Nabokov. The goal was Mitchell's first in 50 games.
The Sharks evened the score at 1 when Dimitrakos' backhander
went off Wild defenseman Andrei Zyuzin and past Fernandez with 2:14
left in the second period.
But San Jose was out of synch the rest of the night. The Sharks
struggled on the power play, going 0-for-5 against the Wild's
NHL-leading penalty kill.
"You have to put the puck in the back of the net," Sharks
center Patrick Marleau said. "It's not good enough to be getting
Minnesota has killed 96 percent of the power plays it has faced
this season, allowing just two goals in 45 chances.
Another positive sign for the Wild was the return of Gaborik,
their all-time leading scorer. The 23-year-old had felt healthy
enough to be in the lineup for more than a week, but general
manager Doug Risebrough held him out to make sure he had fully
recovered from a groin injury he suffered in training camp.
"I was skating for 10 days, so I felt good out there," Gaborik
said. "The biggest thing is we won the game."
Wild D Alex Henry missed his second straight game with a
groin strain. ... Minnesota has scored first in six of its first
seven games this season. ... The game was a homecoming for two
Sharks: D Tom Preissing is from Rosemount, a suburb of St. Paul,
and LW Josh Langfeld is from Coon Rapids, a Minneapolis suburb.