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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 5, Sharks 4

Minnesota scores four times in the third period, rallies twice from two down in victory

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

Recap: MIN 5, SJS 4

Koivu powers Wild comeback in 5-4 win over Sharks

Mikko Koivu, playing in his 800th NHL game, scored the tying and winning goals as the Wild rallied past the Sharks, 5-4

  • 04:48 •

Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 5-4 victory against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose on Thursday night:

1. Minnesota (24-9-4) overcame a two-goal deficit not once, but twice, to earn a monster road victory.

Tweet from @PR_NHL: The @mnwild overcame multiple deficits of 2+ goals to win for just the second time in franchise history (also Dec. 4, 2009 vs ANA: 5-4 SO W)

The Wild scored four times in the third period, digging itself out of a 4-2 hole, after it had already climbed out of a 2-0 hole.

Thursday night's game was crazy, so here's the abbreviated version: San Jose (23-14-2) scored two goals just over three minutes apart to take a 2-0 lead in the second period. Eric Staal scored his first of two goals late in the period as Minnesota got within one headed to the third.

That's where things went off the rails.

Zach Parise tied it at 2:08, but the Sharks scored twice in a span of 32 seconds to take a 4-2 advantage at 4:21.

Staal calmed the waters less than a minute after that, getting the Wild back within a goal at 5:06 before captain Mikko Koivu buried a pair of goals less than two minutes apart to give Minnesota its first lead.

 Video: MIN@SJS: Koivu ties game, scores go-ahead goal in 3rd

Get all that?

"I thought we had a good start to [the third period], but just a couple quick goals by them and they got the momentum back," Koivu said. "But it was a good job by [Staal] to get the momentum back for us."

Video: Mikko Koivu Postgame at San Jose

The six third-period goals were all scored within 8 minutes and 10 seconds of each other as the Wild went from down a goal to tied, to down two, to up one. 

"We started to move out feet a little bit there in the third," Parise said. "We started to play a little smarter at the offenive blue line, got it below their [defensemen] and we were able to force them into some turnovers. That's how we got a lot of pucks back and it's how we got all of our goals."

2. Zach Parise looked like Zach Parise, scoring a goal and assisting on two others.

More than the offensive numbers, Parise looked like his vintage self, winning battles all over the ice, but especially in front of the net.

His goal in the early moments of the third period was typical Parise as he crashed the net and cleaned up a loose puck in front after Sharks goaltender Martin Jones has made an initial stop of a Nino Niederreiter shot from a bad angle. 

Niederreiter's shot from the bottom of the left circle popped loose in front of Jones and Parise was there to hammer his seventh goal into the net, tying the game at 2-2. 

Video: MIN@SJS: Parise crashes net, buries rebound in 3rd

"When he's at the net and winning battles and getting to the blue paint, he's tough to play against," Staal said. "He's got enough skill to find ways to put pucks to the back of the net. I thought he was real tenacious, especially the second half of the game. He's the type of player, like anybody, you get a little confident, you get one, you feel better, and you're attacking the net a lot more. He definitely was tonight."

Parise was also credited with the first assist on each of Eric Staal's two goals, setting up the veteran center with a nifty drop pass on the first (more on that below) and wreaking havoc in front of Jones, creating a turnover and banging away at a loose puck that Staal finally buried at the right post.

Video: Bruce Boudreau Postgame at San Jose

"He was good, one of the few guys we had good right from the beginning," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "He was hounding pucks, he was all over it. He scored his goal by getting on a rebound, gets a couple of asists. That's Zach Parise."

It's been a tough season for Parise so far, with injuries and illness limiting his ability to find a consistent groove. Thursday's game could be the type that kickstarts his campaign.

Video: Zach Parise Postgame at San Jose

"I'm not gonna sit and make excuses, but it's been a pretty rough first half of the season for me," Parise said. "I'm hoping all of that is behind me. I'm starting to feel alot better physically and so I hope that game is something I can build off of and keep going after that."

3. Badly needing a spark, it was the Wild power play that delivered with just over a minute remaining in the second period.

Down two goals, Zucker blocked a shot from the left point and took off after a loose puck in the neutral zone. Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo, not wanting to allow a potential breakaway, stood in his way long enough for Zucker to draw an interference penalty, putting Minnesota on its second man advantage of the night.

Just 21 seconds in, the Wild narrowed the deficit to one when Staal rifled a shot past goaltender Martin Jones from the high slot to make it a 2-1 hockey game.

Video: MIN@SJS: Staal tallies PPG off feed from Parise

It almost felt like a must-score power play if the Wild was to get back in it.

"What went though my head when we did score was, we were only down 2-1 playing the way we were playing, and if we played a good period, we could win this game," Boudreau said. 

Wild defenseman Ryan Suter entered the zone with the puck and got the ceremonial third assist, dishing to Charlie Coyle along the right-wing wall. Coyle's pass to Parise in the slot was on point, and Parise dropped a beautiful pass to Staal just in the nick of time to beat Jones glove side high for his 12th goal.

Video: Eric Staal Postgame at San Jose

"It's big, especially at the end of a period," Staal said. "You're down two, you close it to within one and get some life and open the floodgates a little bit for us."

Loose Pucks

• Five Wild players finished with multi-point games, including Parise (one goal, two assists), Staal (two goals, one assist), Koivu (two goals), Jason Zucker (two assists) and Mikael Granlund (two assists). For Granlund, it was his team-leading ninth multi-point game. The Finnish winger leads the NHL in scoring since Dec. 7, posting five goals and 12 assists during that span.

• Minnesota improved to 15-2-3 in its past 20 games and remained one point back of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division. The Wild has four games in hand, however.

• Goaltender Devan Dubnyk finished with 30 saves, including a dandy with 20 seconds to play and San Jose's net empty, to maintain the victory.

• Wild prospects will be heading home with medals from the 2017 World Junior Championships. Luke Kunin and Jordan Greenway of Team USA won gold after the Americans defeated Canada 5-4 in a shootout (like the Wild, rallying from 2-0 and 4-2 deficits in the game). Earlier in the day, Karill Kaprizov and Russia defeated Joel Eriksson Ek and Sweden 2-1 in overtime to secure bronze.

He Said It

"It was tough to remember, there were so many goals there in the third period, how it all went. But the bottom line is, we ended up with one extra at the end of the night." -- Wild forward Eric Staal

They Said It

"They seemed to get all the loose pucks. They were hungrier around the net than we were. It was a grind. Pucks were just bouncing around. We were really good for two periods. It's one of those things. They get a couple bounces, they get some momentum, and they really started buzzing there in the third." -- Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, who finished with 21 saves

Dan's Three Stars

* Zach Parise

** Eric Staal

*** Mikko Koivu

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