Nicklas Backstrom did his best to get the Minnesota Wild
a win in San Jose on Thursday night. Unfortunately for Backstrom, his teammates kept getting in the way.
Patrick Marleau got a fortunate bounce on his tiebreaking, power-play goal early in the third period and the Sharks went on to beat the Wild 3-2 Thursday night.
"Sometimes you need those bounces," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. "I thought their short-handed goal was one of those ricochet pucks that was a bounce on their side. We got some fortunate ones ourselves, obviously on the winning goal."
With Clayton Stoner off for holding, Marleau settled a pass from Joe Pavelski and fired a shot that Backstrom blocked with his pad. But the rebound deflected off Wild defenseman Brent Burns' leg and right past Backstrom at the 5-minute mark of the third period.
It was Marleau's team-leading 28th goal of the season and sixth game-winner since Feb. 1. It was also the second goal of the game that went into the net off a Wild player.
"It's a good thing we have him, he seems to be the go-to guy right now," coach Todd McLellan said. "It's nice to see him get it on the power play. I'd like to see him do it for a long time yet."
Logan Couture and Jamal Mayers also scored for the Sharks, who have won two straight following a three-game losing streak. The win kept San Jose three points ahead of Phoenix in the Pacific Division.
John Madden and Kyle Brodziak scored for Minnesota, and Backstrom made 47 saves as the Wild finished an 0-4-0 road trip that put a severe dent into their playoff hopes. Minnesota is in 11th place in the Western Conference, six points behind eighth-place Calgary.
"You are always disappointed after a loss and obviously disappointed when you lose four in a row," coach Todd Richards said. "We had some guys who really put it on the line tonight. We needed more guys to put it on the line. You never plan on this. We're playing against some very good teams and some tough buildings."
Two of San Jose's three goals went into the net off Minnesota players -- Couture's second-period tally deflected off Madden's stick and went past Backstrom.
"It's the way things are going," Madden said. "I wasn't backchecking my guy, and I think it hit my stick. I couldn't believe it went in, but that's the way it goes. You just have to keep playing hockey. They didn't stop playing when they gave up a short-handed goal. They kept playing. I think one thing we've been struggling with is the ups and downs of a hockey game. You play hockey and stuff happens."
The Sharks got another break later in the third when it appeared as if Boyle had injured his left leg after being dragged to the ice by Mikko Koivu. Boyle punched the ice in frustration and was helped to the locker room before returning almost immediately.
Boyle said he initially thought the injury was much more serious.
"The body is not supposed to bend that way," Boyle said. "It wasn't very good. I'm happy with the way things are right now, but ask me tomorrow."
The Sharks controlled the play in the second period, outshooting the Wild 21-9, but still found themselves tied heading into the third when Brodziak answered Couture's fluky goal with one of his own.
San Jose opened the scoring 11:29 into the game when Pavelski fed Jamal Mayers, who split the defense and beat Backstrom with a backhander. Madden tied it at 14:53 with a shorthanded goal.
Time is running out on the Wild, who start a four-game homestand against Columbus on Saturday, but Richards said he still feels his team can make a playoff push.
"You're always disappointed after a loss, and obviously disappointed when you lose four in a row," he said. "We had some guys that really put it on the line tonight, but we needed more guys."
"I think we have the players. I think we have proved it through the course of the season. We put ourselves in a position for playoff contention."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report