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Bernier, Pavelski lead Sharks to fourth straight win

Nov 30, 2006 - 3:43 AM ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Although their shutout streak quickly ended, the San Jose Sharks received just enough offense from Steve Bernier and rookie Joe Pavelski.

Bernier snapped a second-period tie, Pavelski netted his third goal of the season and Evgeni Nabokov made 15 saves to lead the Sharks to a 2-1 triumph over the Minnesota Wild.

Coming off shutouts over the New Jersey Devils and the St. Louis Blues, San Jose recorded its fourth consecutive victory and became the first Western Conference team to collect 10 road wins this season.

"We've been playing some low-scoring games," Sharks center Joe Thornton said. "We really know how to win the one-goal games. We feel comfortable in these tight situations. We don't give up too much."

"The guys, for 60 minutes, played pretty well," Nabokov said. "With some bounces, the game could be changed. We would have been heartbroken to lose a game like this because we played pretty well."

Bernier scored his eighth goal of the campaign at 7:02 of the middle session by redirecting defenseman Christian Ehrhoff's centering pass by goaltender Manny Fernandez's right pad to break a 1-1 tie.

"I'm playing the puck to go by, and it hit my shin pads and went in the net," Bernier said. "It's always fun to see that happening."

The Wild opened the scoring at 2:54 of the first period. Mattias Weinhandl made a steal in his own end, raced down the ice and fired a slap shot from the right faceoff circle that found the gap between Nabokov's pads for his first tally of the season.

"In the first period, the puck was bouncing in the crease, but then we settled down and everything was more under control after that," Nabokov said. "Great penalty kill when we needed it. It was a great win."

"The first period was our best period," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We scored a goal. We got a little energy. The guys were skating better. Second period was our worst. They weren't skating. (It was) not good to watch."

San Jose took advantage of Mikko Koivu's hooking penalty to tie the game 3:25 later. Pavelski redirected defenseman Matt Carle's shot from the left boards past Fernandez for his third goal in four career games.

"The whole shift, we had a few tips," Pavelski said. "It was just another broken-down play. Matt jumped in. That's what he does really good. He found me coming around the side of the net."

After making a pad save on Wild captain Brian Rolston with 78 seconds remaining, Nabokov dived on the trickling puck to prevent a rebound and help raise his record to 7-5-0.

"(Nabokov and fellow netminder Vesa Toskala) have been playing great," Thornton said. "With two shutouts and tonight the one-goal game, they (have) been unbelievable. We expect that every night out of them."

Fernandez stopped 29 shots for Minnesota, which lost in regulation for just the second time in 12 home games.

"(Fernandez) played awesome," Weinhandl said. "He kept us in the game. That's a key to have a goalie like that to keep you in the game. Unluckily, we didn't get the goal to make it 2-2."

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