Kaprizov's hat trick gives Wild 4-3 win over Sharks to stop 3-game skid

Sun, Mar 3, 2024
NHL News (AP)

Kaprizov's hat trick gives Wild 4-3 win over Sharks to stop 3-game skid

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Kirill Kaprizov posted his second hat trick in less than two weeks, scoring the go-ahead goal with 3:59 left to lift the Minnesota Wild past the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Sunday night.

Frederick Gaudreau also scored for the Wild, who outshot the Sharks 32-15 and stopped a three-game losing streak. Filip Gustavsson finished with 12 saves.

Former Wild centers Mikael Granlund and Nico Sturm each scored to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead in the second period, and Anthony Duclair made it 3-2 for San Jose off an unassisted breakaway just 23 seconds into the third period.

Kaprizov then showed why he was by far the best player on the ice all night, with the equalizer about two minutes later and the winner after that on a wrist shot that eluded Sharks goalie Kaapo Kahkonen.

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Kaprizov has six career hat tricks, including one in the playoffs, and leads the Wild with 29 goals this season.

Kahkonen had 28 saves and fell to 0-7-1 in his last eight starts. The Sharks are 1-7-2 in their last nine games.

The Wild stumbled home after two damaging defeats on the road, to wild card competitors Nashville on Thursday and St. Louis on Saturday, that shoved them further back in the race. They entered the evening in 12th place in the Western Conference and 10 points out of the final spot.

The Sharks (15-39-6), who have been on a fast track toward their fifth consecutive absence from the Stanley Cup playoffs, have the second-worst record in the NHL ahead of only Chicago. Their points percentage is the fourth-lowest since the league added shootouts in the 2005-06 season.

Both teams had only 11 available forwards. The Wild were without Mats Zuccarello (personal reasons) and Marcus Johansson (lower body injury) after both players skated the night before. This was Johansson's first scratch of the season. The Sharks put defenseman Calen Addison on the fourth line right wing, with William Eklund sidelined by an illness.

With Granlund, Sturm, Kahkonen, Addison and center Luke Kunin, the Sharks had five former Minnesota players in their lineup - all of whom the Wild traded to other teams in recent years.

Granlund has three goals and four assists in his last eight games after scoring on a power play early in the second period on San Jose's fourth on-target shot. The Sharks had seven attempts in the first period.

Sturm's goal off a short-handed rush about three minutes later prompted some boos from the home crowd, before Gaudreau finally got the Wild on the board on a power play - aided by a well-executed screen by Vinny Lettieri - to score for the first time in 24 games since Dec. 31.

UP NEXT

Sharks: Host Dallas on Tuesday.

Wild: Visit Arizona on Thursday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL

DAVE CAMPBELL Campbell is a sports reporter for The Associated Press, based in Minneapolis. He has covered all of the major teams in Minnesota as well as stories of national interest for the AP since 2000. twitter "
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