SAN JOSE – Minnesota reeled off three unanswered goals in a wide open third period, and erased a pair of two-goal deficits to stun the Sharks at SAP Center on Thursday night, 5-4.
The Sharks led 2-1 after two when the goals started flowing early in the third. The teams combined for four goals – two each – in just a two minute and 58 second span.
It took 2:08 into the final frame for the Wild to tie it up at 2-2. Nino Niederreiter slid a shot towards the net from a sharp angle, and it rebounded to a charging Zach Parise, who roofed it over Martin Jones.
San Jose responded less than two minutes later. Joel Ward got in front of the net and slipped home a Brent Burns rebound at 3:49 after an offensive zone faceoff win by Ward moments earlier. Ward assisted on Patrick Marleau’s goal just 32 seconds later, feathering a pass into the offensive zone, where Marleau gathered it and zipped it through Devan Dubnyk’s five hole to increase San Jose’s lead to 4-2.
The Wild took over from there.
The comeback began when Justin Braun and Logan Couture failed to clear the puck out of the slot. It ended up on Parise’s stick, and after he put it on net, Eric Staal was able to corral the rebound the put it through at 5:06.
Mikko Koivu scored the next two to give the Wild their first lead.
On the tying goal that made it 4-4, Jones left Koivu a juicy rebound on a shot by Mikael Granlund at 8:23, and the Wild captain easily whacked it in.
The game-winner came less than two minutes later, when Koivu buzzed in a slap shot from the top of the circle after the Sharks were scrambling around their own zone at 10:18.
The Sharks lost their third straight game, while Minnesota improved to 13-1-0 its last 14.
San Jose makes two visits to St. Paul later this season, on March 5 and March 21.
The Sharks struck twice in the second period jump ahead, 2-0.
Joonas Donskoi’s goal at 8:22 opened the scoring. Brenden Dillon brought the puck into the zone and handed it off to Kevin Labanc, who laid it out perfectly for Donskoi. The Finnish winger lifted a wrist shot into the nearside top corner for his fifth of the season.
After Minnesota had a few glorious opportunities to tie it on a power play less than two minutes later, Matt Dumba’s holding minor nullified the remaining 15 seconds of the advantage. Joe Pavelski won the ensuing four-on-four faceoff to Brent Burns, and swooped in towards the net to poke through the rebound of Burns’ point shot which had settled just outside of the crease in front of Dubnyk at 11:27.
Minnesota cut the lead in half before the break, though, after Dylan DeMelo was whistled for interference. Staal whirred in a wrist shot from the high slot at 18:59 to make it a 2-1 game at the second intermission.
Staal and Parise had three points apiece to lead the Wild.
Struggling forward Mikkel Boedker, benched for most the third period against Los Angeles on Tuesday and without a goal for the past 28 games, was a healthy scratch for the first time this season.
The Sharks had just one power play, failing to register a shot on the advantage. San Jose is just 14-for-97 since Nov. 1 (14.4 percent).
Minnesota went 1-for-3. The Sharks have allowed one power play goal against in each of their last three games (8-for-11).
Jones surrendered a season high five goals on just 26 shots, and has been in the net for the three losses in a row.
Dubnyk entered the game with the NHL’s best goals-against average and save percentage, but has allowed four goals in each of his last three appearances. He got the win, though, with 30 saves.
Marc-Edouard Vlaisc missed his third straight game with a facial injury, while David Schlemko (upper body) missed his second straight. The Sharks recalled defenseman Tim Heed from the Barracuda on Thursday morning, but he did not play.
Tommy Wingels returned after five games as a scratch in place of Boedker. Matt Nieto, waived by the organization on Wednesday, was claimed by Colorado on Thursday morning.
Labanc has a four-game point streak (1g, 3a).
The Red Wings make their only appearance of the season at SAP Center on Saturday. Detroit beat the Sharks in San Jose’s final game at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 22, 3-0, behind 30 saves by Jimmy Howard.