Jason Zucker scored two goals to cap a three-goal outburst in a 4:06 span of the second period Saturday night as the Minnesota Wild tuned up for the playoffs with a 6-3 decision over the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.
Jonas Brodin, Matt Cullen and Mikael Granlund also tallied for Minnesota, which finished the regular season with 101 points and travel to Winnipeg to open a first-round Western Conference playoff series next week.
Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski lit the lamp for the Sharks, who missed a chance to attain home-ice advantage for their first-round series with Anaheim. They’ll have to open that series next week in Orange County.
Brodin got the scoring started at 10:53 of the first period with his sixth goal, ripping a one-timer from the left point that bounced just before it reached the net and eluded Martin Jones.
Cullen upped the lead to 2-0 at 14:52, scoring his 11th goal from the doorstep. Moments after hitting the post from almost the exact spot, Cullen converted a blind feed from Tyler Ennis.
Burns drew San Jose within a goal just 36 seconds later, wristing a shot from the right point off Devan Dubnyk and into the net for his 12th marker of the season.
Pavelski equalized at 16:32 with his 22nd tally, thanks to Mikkel Boedker. After pouncing on a giveaway, Boedker fed Pavelski, who skated into the slot and wired a wrister under Dubnyk’s arm.
Granlund snapped the tie at 11:19 of the second period, notching his 21st goal. Rookie Jordan Greenway picked up his first NHL point with an assist, but Granlund did most of the work, skating from the blue line to the edge of the right circle and roofing a wrister.
Zucker made it 4-2 28 seconds later, taking Nino Niederreiter’s pass, skating into the slot and flicking a backhander over Jones. Zucker tacked on his 33rd goal at 15:25, finishing a 2-on-1 with a wrister to the stick side.
Timo Meier tallied his 21st goal on a deflection at 18:50 of the third period for the Sharks, but Eric Staal chalked up his 42nd into an empty net at 19:34 for the Wild.
Dubnyk made 27 saves in the win. Jones finished with 14 before being removed to start the third quarter for Aaron Dell, who had four saves.
—Field Level Media