ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Steve Bernier’s fluke goal helped the San Jose Sharks beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight victory.

Bernier missed a pass by Christian Ehrhoff only to have the puck bounce off his right skate and into the Minnesota net in the second period.

Minnesota, which lost at home for only the third time this season, had a season-low 16 shots on goal and lost for the third time in its last four outings.

The Sharks, who won their two previous games in shutouts, lost their bid for a third straight shutout on an early goal. Minnesota winger Mattias Weinhandl gave the home team the lead at 2:54 of the first, beating Evgeni Nabokov with a low shot.

Rookie forward Joe Pavelski tied it for the Sharks on a first-period power play, tipping Matt Carle’s shot past Manny Fernandez. Pavelski, a star on Wisconsin’s NCAA championship team last season – has scored in consecutive games and has three goals in four NHL games.

An errant pass by Minnesota’s Brent Burns nearly gave San Jose a 3-1 lead in the third period. With a delayed penalty called on the Sharks and Fernandez on the bench, Burns’ pass sailed out of the offensive zone and slid the length of the rink, hitting the right post of the empty Wild net.

The game rosters were more notable for who was missing than who was dressed. Despite practicing with the team this week, Minnesota forward Marian Gaborik remains out of the lineup with a groin injury and has not played since Oct. 20. He was joined in street clothes by Pavol Demitra, who missed his fourth consecutive game because of a concussion. The Sharks were missing forward Jonathan Cheechoo, who has missed six games with a left leg injury. He is expected to return Saturday in Detroit.

Nabokov won his second consecutive start, finishing with 15 saves.

Fernandez made 29 saves.

Notes: Weinhandl’s goal was his first point since April, and came on only his second shot on goal of the season. … Sharks forward Milan Michalek was a late addition to the lineup after missing the previous three games because of a bruised left arm. … Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster left the game in the first period and did not return after being struck in the neck by an errant clearing attempt while sitting on the Minnesota bench.

AP-ES-11-29-06 2240EST

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