Thornton Scores In OT To Lead Sharks Over Wild
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau found the perfect way to celebrate their new contract extensions.
Marleau also scored as the two longtime Sharks shined one day after signing three-year deals that will keep them in San Jose through the 2016-17 season.
Antti Niemi made 20 saves and Joe Pavelski and Matt Irwin had two assists apiece as the Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit to get their third six-game winning streak of the season.
Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves as Minnesota lost for just the fourth time in 12 games this month.
Thornton and Pavelski combined on the game-winning play by causing a turnover at the blue line. Pavelski then fed Thornton, who beat Kuemper with a wrist shot from the top of the circle to end it with his ninth career overtime goal and first since Nov. 26, 2008, against Chicago.
Pavelski assisted on both of Thornton's goals in a bit of a role reversal after Thornton helped set up many of his 19 goals in the previous 21 games.
The Wild struck first on a nifty play by Cooke midway through the first period. Cooke deflected Thornton's cross-ice pass to Brad Stuart in the neutral zone. Cooke then beat Stuart to the loose puck and skated in on Niemi before beating him with a forehand for his eighth goal.
They added onto the lead early in the second when Mikael Granlund fed Ballard for a one-timer that beat Niemi. It was Ballard's first goal since Oct. 6, 2011, for Vancouver against Pittsburgh, ending a drought of 114 games without a goal.
But that was all the Wild would get as they managed just 12 shots in the final 39-plus minutes. They spent much of the game on the defensive as they won just 18 of 59 faceoffs.
Minnesota dominated the opening half of the second period, limiting San Jose to one shot in the first 11-plus minutes before Thornton and Marleau delivered a day after getting their new contracts.
Thornton struck first when Pavelski fed him for a one-timer that he knocked past Kuemper on a knuckler.
Just 49 seconds later, Marleau scored his 22nd of the season when Tommy Wingels fanned on the original shot but still managed to get the puck to Marleau, who deflected it past Kuemper to tie the game.
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