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Harding makes 37 saves, Wild beat Sharks 3-1

  • Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, right, collides with San Jose Sharks right wing Brent Burns (88) as they go after the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game in St. Paul, Minn., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. The Wild won 3-1. (Associated Press)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Wild gained some momentum heading into a stretch in which they will spend little time at home.

Josh Harding made a season-high 37 saves in another strong home outing, and the Wild beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Sunday night despite recording a season-low 13 shots.

Zach Parise scored twice — once into an empty net — and Mikko Koivu added a goal for the Wild, who have won three of four.

“It was a hard game, and that’s a tough team to play against,” Parise said. “We were able to hang on and win, so that’s important for us.”

Patrick Marleau scored with 1:41 left for San Jose, which went 1-3 on a four-game trip. The Sharks, who have lost three in a row in regulation for the first time this season, are 0-5-1 in their last six games in Minnesota.

Antti Niemi made 10 saves.

The Wild plays seven of their next eight away from home. To maintain their standing within the tough Western Conference, they will need to play better than their 5-6-3 road record.

“We don’t want to go out and make everything look pretty,” forward Matt Cooke said. “We’re a team that’s going to go out and play responsible, take care of our own end, and capitalize on our opportunities.

“That should suit us well heading on the road.”

That was evident late against the Sharks when Minnesota focused on strong play in its own end against a team that was averaging an NHL-best 36 shots per game and scoring 3.34 goals. Minnesota held the Sharks to just six third-period shots, after allowing 21 in the second.

“I feel like we got a lot of good practice in our defensive game tonight, and we were sharp,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “They got the one at the end, but I thought we did a really good job in the third period. We were playing tight, we had good layers, and we were tough to come through.”

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