The Minnesota Wild struggled early, but came back to defeat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Sharks were all over the Wild for nearly the first 10 minutes of the opening period. The Sharks held a sizable lead in shots on goal, offensive zone time and puck possession.

Tommy Wingels and Joe Thornton scored goals on defensive breakdowns, in which multiple Wild players did not pick up the guy going to the net or the one in front of the net

The Wild did not record a shot on goal until the 5:15 mark of the first period while already trailing 2-0.

Then with 10 minutes and 47 seconds remaining in the opening period, things started to change.

Cal Clutterbuck picked a puck at the faceoff dot to Niklas Backstrom’s left, circled the net and went coast-to-coast, and fired a sharp angle shot past Thomas Greiss on the far side.

“(Clutterbuck) saved our life,” Mike Yeo said.

The Wild got a pair of goals from unlikely sources in defenseman Nick Schultz and fourth line wing Jed Ortmeyer.

Schultz tied the game at two with a shot from the point on the power play that deflected off a Sharks player’s stick past Greiss early in the second. It was his first goal in 101 games that stretch back to January 2, 2011.

“I don’t score a lot of goals,” Schultz said. “It’s nice to chip in. It’s nice to be a part of the offense a little bit.”

Just one minute and 14 seconds after the Wild had to tie the game a second time, Ortmeyer cut across the top of the crease to deflected a shot from Jared Spurgeon past Greiss.

“It’s been awhile,” Ortmeyer said. “(Spurgeon) kept the puck in. I was behind the net on the forecheck and just kind of lingered a bit. I saw him shooting it and just tried to get in front.”

After former Wild defenseman Brent Burns gave the Sharks a 3-2 nearly midway through the third period, Matt Cullen deflected a shot from Marco Scandella past Greiss.

All four Wild goals were key goals; Clutterbuck got the team on the board, Schultz and Cullen tied the game and Ortmeyer scored the winner.

The Wild’s final two goals came in similar fashion. The defenseman, Scandella on Cullen’s goal and Spurgeon on Ortmeyer’s goal kept a clearing attempt in the offensive zone and took a shot at the net. The two goals got enough of their sticks on the puck to keep Greiss from stopping it.

The game was momentarily stopped in the second period when Scandella’s stick caught the head of Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. McLellan was unavailable for comment after the game. He was not feeling up for it, but has been cleared to travel back to San Jose with the team.

“You never want that to happen,” Scandella said. “It was accidental, but obviously I felt bad.”

Three Stars

No. 3 – Brent Burns. The Sharks defenseman had a goal and an assist.

No. 2 – Jed Ortmeyer. The Wild forward scored the game-winning goal.

No. 1 – Cal Clutterbuck. The Wild forward scored a goal.


San Jose          2 0 1 – 3

Minnesota       1 1 2 – 4

       First Period – 1, San Jose, Wingels 3 (McGinn, Marleau), 1:22. 2, San Jose, Thornton 14 (Mitchell, Burns), 3:21. 3, Minnesota, Clutterbuck 14 (unassisted), 9:13. Penalties – Marleau, SJ (high sticking), 14:09; McGinn, SJ (roughing), 19:22.

       Second Period – 4, Minnesota, Schultz 1 (Brodziak), 1:43 (pp). Penalties – Ferriero, SJ (hooking), 1:39; Brodziak, Min (goaltender interference), 8:44; Vlasic, SJ (holding), 16:30; Zanon, Min (slashing), 19:17.

       Third Period – 5, San Jose, Burns 10 (Thornton, Marleau), 8:45 (pp). 6, Minnesota, Cullen 14 (Scandella), 14:33. 7, Minnesota, Ortmeyer 1 (Spurgeon), 15:47. Penalties – Peters, Min (holding), 7:34.

       Shots on goal – San Jose 12-2-14 28. Minnesota 7-13-6 26.

       Goalies – San Jose, Greiss (22-26). Minnesota, Backstrom (25-28). A – 17,401. Referees – Jean Hebert, Paul Devorski. Linesmen – Thor Nelson, Michel Cormier.