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Recap: Wild clinch playoff berth with big win over Sharks

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Minnesota rode a three goal first period to a victory over San Jose which cinched the team a spot in the playoffs.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild came into Saturday’s game against the Sharks with a chance to clinch a playoff spot and extend their winning streak to seven games, and it didn’t take very long at all for the Wild to score the first goal of the game.

Just 19 seconds after the puck had dropped, Ryan Suter skated down the left shot of the ice and threw a wrist shot on net that beat Martin Jones on the glove side to make it 1-0 Minnesota.

The Wild would extend their lead to 2-0 when Joel Eriksson Ek made a nice pass to Marcus Foligno who tapped it past Jones and into the net to give the Wild a two-goal lead.

The Wild would score another goal just a few minutes later as Jared Spurgeon walked into the slot and beat Jones blocker aside to give Minnesota a 3-0 lead.

With just under a minute to play in the 2nd period, Kevin Fiala batted a puck out of mid-air and into the net to give the Wild a 4-0 lead, and that would be the score as the teams headed into the final period of the game.

The Sharks would get on the board early in the 3rd period as Logan Couture put a rebound into a half empty net to cut the Minnesota lead to 4-1.

Although, the Wild answered right back with a goal of their own on the power-play as Kirill Kaprizov buried a beautiful feed from Kevin Fiala to put the Wild up by 4 goals.

The Sharks would make the game interesting, as goals from Evander Kane and Joachim Blichfeld in a span of a minute and nineteen seconds got the Sharks to within 2 goals at 5-3. Despite the Sharks getting within a couple of goals in the third, the Wild were great in the last ten minutes of the game as they kept most of the play in the Sharks zone, and Nick Bonino scored an empty netter to make it 6-3 Minnesota, and that would be the final score as the Wild clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Burning Questions

Will we see a barn burner?

While the Wild did a good job of limiting the Sharks offense in the first two periods, the Sharks were able to make it interesting with three goals in the third period, although it wasn’t really a barn burner because the Wild were always in the lead and played solid defensively aside from a stretch of shifts in the third period.

Will the Sharks skaters show enough skill and pride to get a chance?

The Sharks looked really disinterested in the first period, and things didn’t get much better in the second despite them outshooting Minnesota 13-7. While they did get some jump in the third period for a little bit, the Sharks were overall really sloppy and were not able to muster up enough offense to make this game interesting.

Who will exploit Sharks goalie Martin Jones tonight?

It only took nineteen seconds for Ryan Suter to score the game’s first goal, and that goal was followed by goals from Marcus Foligno and Jared Spurgeon to give the Wild a 3-0 lea after the first period. It’s safe t say that this was a bad gamer for Martin Jones, as he was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots in the first period, making it the eight time in thirty-two starts this season that he has been pulled from the game.