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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 3, Sharks 2

Minnesota snaps five-game skid, reduces magic number to two in win over San Jose

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-2 victory against the San Jose Sharks at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Tuesday night:

1. The Wild snapped its five-game losing streak and looked a lot like the team that was among the NHL's best for the bulk of the season in the process.

For more than half the game, the Wild (44-22-6) did it with defense, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the first period and limiting San Jose's chances both in quantity (four shots total in the opening 20 minutes) and quality. 

"I thought our first period was really good. I don't know if our first period was really good and they were coming off the tiredness and didn't have their legs yet, but I was pretty happy with that and pretty happy with some efforts on the power play," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "They're a good team, and you beat them three times: that's pretty good."

Video: Bruce Boudreau Postgame vs. Sharks

Even San Jose's first goal came on a point shot that deflected in off a Wild defender in front of the goal, a play Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk had virtually no chance on.

Speaking of Dubnyk, he was rock solid when he needed to be, gloving down a grade-A second-period chance by Brenden Dillon, then poking the puck off the stick of Joonas Donskoi when he came in on a breakaway a few minutes after that. Dubnyk came up with another big stop on Joel Ward with just over four minutes left in regulation. 

Minnesota's first goal was of the power-play variety, continuing a trend of stellar man-advantage play on home ice this season. Its penalty kill was needed just once, but was successful on its only try.

The Wild's magic number for the postseason is down to two, meaning any victory by Minnesota or regulation loss by the Los Angeles Kings the rest of the way would clinch the Wild's fifth straight trip to the postseason. Both teams are next in action on Thursday, when the Wild hosts the Philadelphia Flyers and the Kings play the Winnipeg Jets.

Combined with Chicago's overtime loss to the Vancover Canucks, the Wild moved to within six points of the Blackhawks for first place in Central Division standings. Minnesota has one game in hand.

2. Minnesota and San Jose (42-24-7) combined to score the fastest four goals in Wild history over the final two minutes of the second period.

Four goals found the back of the net in just 63 seconds, to be exact, as the Wild went from one ahead, to tied, to two ahead and finally back to one ahead as the period came to a close. 

After Matt Dumba's first-period goal (more on that in a moment) gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes, the Wild nearly broke through early in second period. The only thing standing between the home club and a three- or four-goal lead was Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, who stoned Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter on back-to-back point-blank tries on a power play.

A few minutes later, Mikael Granlund set up Koivu with a beautiful spinning pass, but Jones again came up with a pair of 10-bell pad saves to keep it a one-goal deficit for the Sharks.

You knew it would end up biting the Wild later on, and with 2:03 left in the period, it did, when David Schlemko's shot from the point deflected in off a Wild defenseman.

That was just the start of the madness.

Martin Hanzal and Jason Pominville jammed away at a loose puck to re-establish the Wild lead 33 seconds after Schlemko's tally. Pominville was given initial credit, but the goal was later given to Hanzal, his first tally since being acquired in a trade from Arizona last month.

"To be honest, I didn't even know it went off my stick, so it was just one of these goals," Hanzal said. "I thought [our line] played well. Whenever we got the puck deep and start working in their zone, we were playing really well. We just have to keep going."

Video: Locker Room Postgame vs. San Jose

Following a faceoff, Zach Parise won a forecheck battle and dished to Charlie Coyle, who smashed a one-timer past Jones 15 seconds after Pominville's tally.

"It was exciting for about 15 seconds and [then] deflated. But still, coming into the third period with a lead, we should be confident that we can close it out," Parise said. "We're gonna have to if we want to be a good team moving forward."

Minnesota appeared poised to take a two-goal lead into the third period, but a faceoff win and a dump-in by the Sharks resulted in some miscommunication behind the Wild goal. Patrick Marleau took advantage, swooping in and scoring on a wrap-around try that bounced in off the far-side post.

"Let's get to the end of the period," Boudreau recalled thinking during the flurry. "Things happen like that and it becomes crazy. We would've like to go in with a 3-1 lead but we wanted to make sure that we went in with a lead. We are pretty good when we've got a lead in the third period." 

Video: SJS@MIN: Hanzal, Coyle score 15 seconds apart

3. Dumba remained red hot with his first-period rocket that gave Minnesota an early lead.

Again it was Parise setting the table, touch-passing the puck near the goal line to Dumba, who stormed the slot near the hashes and rifled a shot over the blocker of Jones.

The goal was Dumba's 10th of the season, which ties a career high. It was also his third goal in his past five games. The defenseman has six points (3-3=6) over his past eight games overall and has reached the 30-point plateau for the first time in his career.

Video: SJS@MIN: Dumba goes top shelf for PPG

Parise, who extended his scoring streak to three games, now has four helpers over that span.


Loose pucks

• Pominville, Niederreiter and Eric Staal were each credited with one assist. 

Jared Spurgeon blocked a team-high four shots.

• Dubnyk finished with 21 saves and established a new career high with 37 victories, tying Niklas Backstrom's single-season franchise record.

• Jones had 24 saves.

• Minnesota finished the season series 3-0-0 against San Jose. The Wild improved to 9-1-1 in its past 11 versus the Sharks at Xcel Energy Center.

• Attendance: 19,104


He said it

"We are back in the win column. That's what we want. We played a pretty good game against these guys a week or two ago and that was probably our last really good game. We were kind of thinking back to that. We had that confidence against this team. We just came out the right way. It was nice to get that first one and feel good and get some momentum right away. It was a good win for us." -- Wild forward Charlie Coyle


They said it

"I don't think we're talking much about puck luck, we can be better. That kind of luck comes when you're on a team, when you spend lots of time in the O-zone, maybe get a bounce here or there. We're not creating enough right now." -- Sharks forward Joe Pavelski


Three stars

* Zach Parise

** Charlie Coyle

*** Martin Hanzal

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