Koivu rallies Minnesota in wild third to beat Sharks

Published 9:02 am Friday, January 6, 2017

The third period turned into a neighborhood street game and Mikko Koivu made the most of it.

Koivu scored back-to-back goals midway through the third period and the Minnesota Wild overcame a late two-goal deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on Thursday night.

“It’s fun hockey to play,” Wild forward Zach Parise said. “The fans love it, but I’m sure the coaches don’t like it. We had responses when they scored.”

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The teams combined for five goals in the third, with Joel Ward and Patrick Marleau putting San Jose ahead 4-2 in the first five minutes before Eric Staal scored once and Koivu twice to bring the Wild back. Koivu had his goals in a 1:55 span, with the go-ahead score coming with 9:42 left.

“It’s tough to remember with so many goals in the third period how it all went,” Staal said. “But bottom line we ended up with one extra at the end of the night.”

Minnesota got its seventh straight victory on the road. Staal also had two goals and Parise scored for the Wild, who were playing their first game since their 12-game winning streak was snapped by Columbus.

Devan Dubnyk saved 30 shots in his first appearance in San Jose in over two years, when he was with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Joonas Donskoi and Joe Pavelski also scored for the Sharks, who lost their third straight, matching a season high. Martin Jones made 21 saves.

“When it’s a one-goal game with plenty of time left, you’re just trying to get the pucks deep, get on the forecheck and shoot as much as possible,” Koivu said.

Following a quiet first period, in which the goalies rejected a combined 13 shots, the Sharks scored twice to take a 2-0 edge midway through the second.

Donskoi scored after taking a pass from Kevin Labanc on a wide-open shot as defenders paid more attention to Pavelski, who netted the second goal off a faceoff.

Staal scored a power-play goal with 1:01 left in the second period to cut the lead to 2-1.

Parise scored early in the third period, off a rebound, to tie it.

Ward scored off a faceoff just under two minutes later and then Marleau scored, with an assist from Ward, 42 seconds after that.

“They stayed on it,” Ward said. “It was a couple of small turnovers and they capitalized on them.”

The Wild responded with three unanswered goals over the final 15 minutes. Staal netted his second of the game and Koivu scored off a rebound.

“We did a lot of good things up to that point,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “Four should be enough to win for us. Giving up five is inexcusable.”

NOTES: Staal recorded the 53rd multigoal game. … Parise has points in three of the four games since missing a pair of games to injury. … Wild F Charlie Coyle has eight points in his last five games. … Sharks F Mikkel Boedker was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. … Marleau’s goal was his 492th, putting him in sole possession of 46th on the NHL career list. … Labanc has points in each of his last four games.