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Updated: December 7th, 2011 1:59am
Matt Hackett replaces injured Josh Harding, wins NHL debut at San Jose

Matt Hackett replaces injured Josh Harding, wins NHL debut at San Jose

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Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored late in the first period and Matt Hackett made 34 saves to win in his NHL debut, helping the Minnesota Wild beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 Tuesday night.

The skinny

Hackett replaced starter Josh Harding 71 seconds into the game and the Wild won their fifth straight on the road. Minnesota won for the 12th time after giving up the game's first goal.

"Really impressive," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "It's not as easy team to play against in your first game and it's not an easy situation to go in and play your first game. The way he handled it, he was in control all night."

Harding left with an apparent neck injury 11 seconds after allowing goal in the first minute of play. He was hit in the face by teammate Nick Schultz, who was trying to block Joe Pavelski from the net.

The victory marks the 12th time the Wild have won after giving up the first goal.

Pavelski scored for the Sharks, who have lost four of their last five games.

Turning point

Koivu and Bouchard both tallied goals in the final 3 minutes of the first period to erase the deficit, take the lead and gain momentum going into the second.

Health watch

• Devin Setoguchi (lower body) left the game early in the first period and did not return.
Niklas Backstrom remains out with a groin injury suffered on Dec. 2.
Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) and Marek Zidlicky (concussion) remain on the Injured Reserve List.

Summary

First period

Sharks -- Pavelski 12 (Boyle), 1:00.
Wild -- Koivu 5 (Heatley, Wellman), 17:41.
Wild -- Bouchard 5 (Koivu, Spurgeon), 19:48 (pp).

Second Period

None.

Third Period

None.

Shots: Wild 10-6-5--21; Sharks 23-10-9--42. Power-play opportunities: Wild 1 of 2; San Jose 0 of 3. Saves: Wild -- Harding (7-8), Hackett (1:11 first, 34-34); Sharks -- Niemi 10-5-1 (21-19).

Three stars

1st: Matt Hackett
2nd: Mikko Koivu
3rd: Joe Pavelski

Coming up

The Wild continue their West Coast trip by facing the Los Angeles Kings at 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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