Wild take down the Sharks 4-1 in series opener

Wild take down the Sharks 4-1 in series opener

Courtesy of Harrison Barden/Getty Images

ST. PAUL, Minn. — It was not the homecoming Devan Dubnyk or Ryan Donato had hoped for.

The Minnesota Wild scored three unanswered goals to defeat the San Jose Sharks 4-1 on Friday evening at the Xcel Energy Center.

Team Teal getting outcompeted in the middle frame is becoming a disturbing trend. Minnesota had the ice tilted in the Sharks zone for the majority of the second period. They received the eventual game-winning goal from Zach Parise after he slammed home a rebound off a shot from Carson Soucy at the 13:17 mark.

"They had a three-minute push there in the second period where they came around a little bit," said Sharks head coach Bob Boughner. "They got the game turned around. I think the difference is...our power play at crucial times needs to get us one there. We didn't generate a lot of emotion on our power play."

The team traded goals 71 seconds apart in the first half of the opening 20 minutes. Joel Eriksson Ek scored his third goal of the season at the 5:01 mark. San Jose came back on the next shift as Matt Nieto scored his first goal since returning to the Sharks at the 6:12 mark. Patrick Marleau received the secondary assist for his first point of the season and his third stint in a teal uniform.

In the third period the Sharks (2-3) forecheck got going and created some quality scoring chances, but they were not able to get a puck past Wild goalie Kappo Kahkoken. The Finnish goalie, who was the goalie of the year in the AHL last season for the Iowa Wild, made the most of his relief appearance stopping all 17 shots he faced. Kahkonen replaced starting goaltender Cam Talbot to start the second period. Talbot left the game with an undisclosed injury.

For Dubnyk, he stopped 25 of the 27 shots he saw and once again was the victim of a defensive breakdown where Parise was left all alone to camp out in front of the crease to bury the rebound for his first goal of the season.

"I had to sit myself down after the first (period) and just tell myself to relax," Dubnyk said. "I was a little fired up and overthinking stuff. I just wanted to give the guys a good chance. I thought we played extremely well tonight. Honestly, if we play like that, more often than not, we're going to be on the right side of things."

Donato was a -3, but did register five shots on goal.

The Wild (4-1) scored two empty nets goal from Kevin Fiala and Jordan Greenway at the end to break open a tightly contested game between the new divisional rivals.

San Jose is still looking for its first victory in regulation after fives games. They will look to split the two-game series with the Wild on Sunday at 5 p.m.

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