Wild defeat Sharks, clinch playoff berth with seventh straight win


The Minnesota Wild clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth with a 6-3 win against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose, California, on Saturday.

Minnesota (31-13-3) needed a win in any fashion to secure its place as one of four qualifying teams from the Honda West Division. It will be their eighth playoff appearance in the past nine seasons. 

Kirill Kaprizov extended his goal streak to five games, and Kaapo Kahkonen made 27 saves for the Wild, who have won seven in a row. 

Joachim Blichfeld scored his first NHL goal for the Sharks (18-24-5), who have lost eight straight. Martin Jones allowed three goals on eight shots in the first period and was replaced by Josef Korenar, who made 15 saves. 

Ryan Suter scored 19 seconds into the first period with a snap shot on the short side to make it 1-0. 

Marcus Foligno made it 2-0 at 12:00, putting away a pass from Joel Eriksson Ek, and Jared Spurgeon extended the lead 3-0 at 17:43 with a wrist shot from the right circle. 

Kevin Fiala increased the lead to 4-0, batting in a rebound at 19:10 of the second period. He has six points (three goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak. 

Logan Couture cut it to 4-1 at 1:19 of the third on a rebound before Kaprizov scored a power-play goal from the point at 4:28 to make it 5-1. He has six goals in the streak.

Evander Kane and Blichfeld scored 1:19 apart, Kane with a wrist shot at 4:47 to make it 5-2, and Blichfeld, playing his sixth NHL game, with a snap shot from a low angle at 6:06 to make it 5-3. 

Nick Bonino scored into an empty net at 19:38 for the 6-3 final. 

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