SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A lot of things that were going wrong for the Sharks lately went right Thursday night as San Jose stopped its losing streak at four games with a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Twice in that skid, the Sharks failed to protect two-goal leads. This time, San Jose built its lead to three goals for a little more breathing room to help goalie Antti Niemi earn his 17th win of the season.
And all three of the San Jose goals -- two by Joe Pavelski and one by Tomas Hertl -- -- came on a power play that was much-maligned by coach Todd McLellan after his team lost to the same Wild on Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.
"We'll have some things in our tool kit that we can try," McLellan responded before the game when asked about any changes in the power play. "But if . . . you flat out don't even attempt to outwork a penalty kill, you can have all the tools you want, but good luck."
The Sharks built a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by Pavelski and Hertl, with Pavelski adding his second early in the middle period. A goal by Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin with 7:24 left in the game was the only one of 29 shots to get past Niemi.
Special teams clearly made the difference in this one as the Sharks ended up 3 for 7 with the man advantage after going 1 for 13 during the losing streak.
With Wild forward Justin Fontaine off for high-sticking Brad Stuart, San Jose went ahead 1-0 on a Pavelski one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle at 5:54.
Later in the first period, the Sharks had a 5-on-3 when Joe Thornton drew two penalties 30 seconds apart as Fontaine was called for interference and reformed agitator Matt Cooke for tripping.
San Jose didn't score with the two-man advantage, but with four seconds left at 5-on-4, Tommy Wingels took the puck away from Brodin and fed it to Hertl. The Sharks rookie skated laterally to the slot and fired a quick wrist shot that beat Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom high on the stick side at 14:43.
Niemi's biggest save of the night came with Minnesota on the power play and Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon pinching in for a strong shot on the open side of the net that the Sharks goalie managed to extend his right leg to get a skate on.
The Sharks came within an inch of increasing its lead before the first break, but Logan Couture's shot at the buzzer clanked off a post.
That lead did grow to 3-0 in the second period and, with help from a phantom penalty call against the Wild, the goal came on the power play. It appeared that Jason Demers was actually hit by a teammate's stick, but the call went against Wild forward Zenon Konopka and Pavelski pounced on a rebound at 3:52 for his second of the night.
Late in the period, it was the Sharks penalty kill that looked strong after Hertl went to the box for the first time this season, a holding call at 15:07. Even with Stuart breaking his stick early on, San Jose staved off sustained pressure from the Wild.
-- McLellan shuffled his lines again, moving Pavelski back to his role as a third-line center with Wingels and Matt Nieto on the wings -- just as they were early in the season.
But by the third period, Marty Havlat had moved up from the fourth line, replacing Nieto.
McLellan has made it clear he prefers to use Pavelski as a third-line center but had him on a line with Couture and Patrick Marleau the past two games, trying to spark the offense.
-- It was the 21st two-goal game for Pavelski, who is still looking for his first hat trick.
-- Scott Hannan missed his second game with an upper body injury. Other scratches for the Sharks were James Sheppard and John McCarthy.
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