Wild

2/25 RECAP: Wild Push Winning Streak to Four Games With OT Victory

Sometimes, teams pepper an opposing goaltender with shots and outplay the other team, only to lose on a bad bounce or that one defensive breakdown in the game.

For the Minnesota Wild, they certainly put their fair number of shots on goal and outplayed the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night. Most importantly, they were rewarded for their efforts with two points in a 3-2 overtime victory.

The Wild (35-20-7) came from two goals down to get the win. They’ve now won four straight games, tying a season-high, as they hold the third-place position in the Central Division.

“You can’t afford to get complacent,” said Bruce Boudreau. “That’s why we try to do things by the week.”

Jared Spurgeon scored the game-winner on a pretty back-and-forth feed from Jason Zucker with just 12 seconds left in overtime. Zucker had the goalie’s eyes on him and didn’t have the cleanest look at the net, but he quickly sent the puck across the ice back to his teammate. Spurgeon fired it into a wide-open net as Jones was out of position.

That’s one memorable way to score your 200th career point in the NHL.

Boudreau said he told assistant coach Bob Woods in the second period to play Spurgeon a lot.

“He looks like he had his mojo today,” Boudreau said.

It was the second time this season the Wild defeated the Sharks in overtime; Nino Niederreiter was the hero the last time. Spurgeon added an assist on the Matt Cullen goal for a two-point night.

Zucker had two assists and tied for the team-high in shots on goal with four.

Each goal the Wild scored was huge from a momentum standpoint. The Wild were down 2-0 near the end of the second period before Cullen scored with 44 seconds to play in that period. It sent the Wild into the second intermission down one, not two, goals. The tally was also a bit of a reward for the way the Wild were playing. They outshot the Sharks 31-11 from the second period on (including 2-1 in overtime), but goaltender Martin Jones seemed to have an answer for everything.

Boudreau said after the game that the last two periods were as good as the Wild have played the final two frames in a long time. Even if some players might have gotten frustrated with all the chances not going in the net.

“It’s easy to get down when the goalie is stopping everything,” he said.

The Wild kept up the pressure in the third period, but couldn’t find the tying goal. Enter the team’s leading scorer, and a little bit of luck. Eric Staal tied the game at 2-2 with 4:44 left in regulation on a wraparound shot for his 30th goal of the season that went through the crease and deflected off Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s skate before finding the back of the net.

“We’re a team capable of coming back,” said Devan Dubnyk.

Former Wild player Brent Burns, who scored two goals against the Wild earlier this season, was held off the scoresheet this time. Though, it was his turnover that led to the overtime goal for the Wild. Credit Spurgeon who kept battling for the puck and came away with it before sending it over to Zucker.

The Sharks (33-21-9) took their lead with Joakim Ryan‘s third goal of the season six minutes into the game and then Chris Tierney‘s 15th tally of the year just 2:28 into the second for that 2-0 lead.

“We knew we weren’t playing our best at the start… Duby made some big saves,” Spurgeon said.

Spurgeon’s assist on the Cullen goal was his 24th of the season. Ryan Suter assisted on Staal’s goal for his 34th of the year, as the Wild defensive core continues to rack up the points.

With the win, the Wild improve to 21-5-6 on home ice. They’ve won four games in a row two other times this season and will look to push the streak to a season-high five games on Tuesday.

In goal:

  • Dubnyk (26-11-5) with 26 saves on 28 shots. Jones (19-16-5) with 38 saves on 41 shots.

Tidbits:

  • The Wild went 0 for 3 on the power play, while the Sharks were 0 for 1.
  • Marcus Foligno got his 13th assist of the season on Cullen’s goal.
  • The Sharks had 24 blocked shots compared to 10 for the Wild. Minnesota outshot the Sharks 41-28 in the game.
  • The Sharks had just four shots on goal in the second and six in the third period.

Up next:

The Wild host division rival and former coach in the St. Louis Blues and Mike Yeo on Tuesday night.

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