Wild deny Sharks home ice for 1st round with 6-3 win

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Jason Zucker scored twice in the second period, Eric Staal matched the franchise record for goals in a season and the Minnesota Wild denied San Jose home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a 6-3 victory over the Sharks on Saturday night.

Mikael Granlund scored the tiebreaking goal 28 seconds before Zucker got his first and Jonas Brodin and Matt Cullen also scored for the Wild, who were locked into the third seed in the Central Division. Staal added an empty-net goal to tie Marian Gaborik's franchise record for goals in a season with 42.

Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves. Minnesota finished the season with 101 points, going over the 100-point mark for the second straight season and fourth time in franchise history.

The game had much more meaning for the Sharks, who needed one point to clinch second place in the Pacific Division. Instead, San Jose lost five of six games to end the regular season and will be forced to hit the road to start the playoffs against Anaheim in the first meeting between the rivals since the Ducks upset the Presidents' Trophy-winning Sharks in 2009.

Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski and Timo Meier scored for San Jose. Martin Jones allowed five goals on 19 shots before being replaced by Aaron Dell to start the third period.

The Sharks started strong in the second period and held Minnesota without a shot for more than eight minutes. But the Wild then struck twice within less than a minute midway through the period to take control.

Granlund started it with a wrist shot for his 21st goal before Zucker took over with two goals of his own, giving him 33 on the season and the Wild coasted from there to the victory.

The Wild started the game like the team with something at stake, holding the Sharks to no shots on goal for nearly nine minutes and taking a 2-0 lead on goals from Brodin and Cullen.

The Sharks then found their game late in the period and scored twice in 64 seconds to tie it, with Burns getting the first on a shot from the point and Pavelski tying the game after a turnover by Matt Dumba.

NOTES: Wild D Louie Belpedio made his NHL debut after signing a contract earlier this week following a four-year career at Miami of Ohio. He had two assists to become the first Minnesota player ever with two points in his debut. ... Sharks F Evander Kane returned to the lineup after missing two games with an undisclosed injury. ... Brodin's goal gave him 100 career points.

UP NEXT

Wild: First round of playoffs vs. Winnipeg.

Sharks: First round of playoffs vs. Anaheim.

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