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game recap

Eric Staal scores twice in Wild win

Minnesota moves back atop Central Division after defeating Sharks

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored two goals and the Minnesota Wild regained possession of first place in the Central Division and Western Conference with a 3-1 win against the San Jose Sharks at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday.

Minnesota (42-15-6) has a one-point lead on the Chicago Blackhawks atop the Central with two games in hand.

Devan Dubnyk, whose .933 save percentage and 35 wins leads the NHL, made 20 saves.

"This was the way we were playing when we were in our [12-game winning] streak and we got away from it a little bit," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That's two one-goal games in a row, and hopefully we can continue that."

 

WATCH: All Sharks vs. Wild highlights

 

Martin Jones made 25 saves for San Jose (38-19-7), which had won three in a row and an eight-game point streak.

"It was a hard-fought game," Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. "We knew it would be a tough game in here. They came as advertised, they're very good, and we were not as good as them. So it was the proper result."

Zach Parise returned after missing three games because of the mumps and scored on the power play at 11:06 of the first period. Minnesota has 16 power-play goals in the past 16 games and leads the NHL with 30.7 power-play percentage at home.

Staal made it 2-0 at 15:24 of the first.

Video: SJS@MIN: Staal slots empty-netter for his second goal

"It was one of those night where if sometimes it doesn't go my way and I stay with it, I get rewarded," Staal said.

Melker Karlsson got San Jose on the board with 1:34 remaining in the first period. Micheal Haley passed up to Karlsson in the slot for a redirection past Dubnyk to make it 2-1.

Staal scored an empty-net goal at 18:11 of the third period.

"We're going to see a lot more of those type of games," Parise said. "… It's going to be a fight to get in the zone, to get possession, to get zone time. I think we're going to see a lot more of that going forward. We have to know how to win those. We have to prepare ourselves to play in those type of games."

Video: SJS@MIN: Dubnyk hangs on to point-blank one-timer

 

Goal of the game

Parise positioned himself in front of Jones and redirected a shot by Jason Pominville, who also missed three games because of the mumps, for the early goal. Parise has seven goals in his past 12 games. "I felt good," Parise said. "I felt like I had a lot of energy. I didn't really know which way it was going to go after having basically 10 days off."

Video: SJS@MIN: Parise redirects Pominville's feed for PPG

 

Save of the game

Jones got a leg out to make a pad save on a Mikael Granlund's breakaway 4:24 into the third period.

Video: SJS@MIN: Jones shuts down third breakaway of the game

 

Unsung performance of the game

Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon led Parise on the breakaway at 6:53 of the second period and started another breakaway with Granlund in the third. He finished plus-one in 24:42 of ice time.

 

Highlight of the game

Wild defenseman Matt Dumba fed Staal with a no-look backhand pass for the 2-0 lead.

Video: SJS@MIN: Staal nets Dumba's spinning, no-look dish

 

They said it

"There wasn't much space out there. We had our power plays, we didn't get a lot done and we had some chances. Our penalty kill was real solid. We gave ourselves a chance to win and we just got caught making a few too many plays. With their structure that they have, you've got to just stay patient, keep laying it in, forechecking and better break something open that way. If you do that, hopefully you can get a few more pucks to the net and you need that kind of traffic around there." -- Sharks captain Joe Pavelski

 

"Well, [Chris Stewart's] been not bad on the left side, and I thought quite frankly that Eric Staal looks to his right more than he looks to his left sometimes. So if Zach's on the right side and if Zach crosses the blue line, he gets to open up, he gets to see the play. I don't know. These are just stupid things I think at home, and I'll probably change my mind in a week. Who knows? But it worked. I thought that line played well." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on moving Parise from left wing to right wing for a few shifts

 

Need to know

Jannik Hansen, who was acquired by the Sharks from the Vancouver Canucks prior to the NHL Trade Deadline, is still awaiting his visa and did not play. … Sharks center Joe Thornton remains one assist shy of 1,000 in his NHL career. … Wild defenseman Christian Folin left the game at 9:49 of the first period and didn't return after a hit into the boards by Kevin Lebanc. Boudreau said his status is to be determined. "It didn't look good," Boudreau said. "I'm sure we'll know more [Monday]." … Pominville has at least one point in 15 of his past 17 games.

 

What's next

Wild: Host the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Sharks: At the Winnipeg Jets on Monday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, CSN-CA, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Wild move to top of Central with win against Sharks

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