The Minnesota Wild started the game on its heels Tuesday at the HP Pavilion.

The San Jose Sharks dominated play with a goal and eight shots in the first 70 seconds of the game.

That eighth shot was it for Wild starting goaltender Josh Harding. While reaching down to cover a rebound in front of the Wild net, Harding received and inadvertent elbow from Nick Schultz. Harding went down quickly and went directly to the locker room with the team’s training staff.

Enter 21-year-old rookie Matt Hackett.

The nephew of long-time NHL goaltender Jeff Hackett kept the Wild in the game and the Sharks off the board the rest of the way to get the 2-1 win in his NHL debut.

The Wild (18-7-3) stuck to their system and left the first period with a 2-1 lead, despite being outshot 23-10.

Mikko Koivu tied the game at 1-1 by knocking a rebound past Antti Niemi at the 17:41 mark of the opening period. Dany Heatley recorded the assist in his second game back in San Jose with the initial shot. Casey Wellman, a bay area native, also assisted on the goal.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored the game-winning goal with a power play tally with 12 seconds remaining in the first period. Koivu recorded his second point of the game with a cross-ice pass to Koivu. Bouchard waited for Niemi to the first move before a shot into the net on the near side.

When all was said and done, the Sharks had 42 shots, had 33 blocked and missed the net on 18 attempts. That is 93 shot attempts in 60 minutes of play.

In addition to losing Harding within the first minute and a half of the game, the Wild played the majority of the game without Devin Setoguchi. Setoguchi had been limping and missed a recent practice. He played just four shifts just under three minutes of ice time before calling it a game.

The Wild now have its third five-game win streak in the last 19 games and extended Western Conference lead to three points over the idle-Chicago Blackhawks.

Three Stars

No. 3 – Pierre-Marc Bouchard. The Wild forward scored the game-winning goal.

No. 2 – Mikko Koivu. The Wild forward recorded a goal and an assist.

No. 1 – Matt Hackett. The Wild goaltender stopped all 34 shots he faced to get the win.


Minnesota     2 0 0 – 2

San Jose        1 0 0 – 1

       First Period – 1, San Jose, Pavelski 12 (Boyle), 1:00. 2, Minnesota, Koivu 5 (Heatley, Wellman), 17:41. 3, Minnesota, Bouchard 5 (Koivu, Spurgeon), 19:49, (pp). Penalties – Almond, Min, double minor (high sticking), 10:45; Mitchell, SJ (tripping), 19:11.

       Second Period – None. Penalties – Heatley, Min (boarding), 18:08.

       Third Period – None. Penalties – Marleau, SJ (boarding), 8:17.

       Shots on goal – Minnesota 10-6-5 21. San Jose 23-10-9 42.

       Goalies – Minnesota, Harding (7-8), Hackett (34-34). San Jose, Niemi (19-21). A – 17,496. Referees – Kyle Rehman, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen – Don Henderson, Mark Wheler.