Wild earn fourth straight victory in overtime thriller
ST. PAUL, Minn. — As Minnesota recovered from an early deficit against the San Jose Sharks, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau turned to assistant Bob Woods and told him to keep sending defenseman Jared Spurgeon out on the ice as much as possible.
Spurgeon then helped the Wild to an important two points.
Spurgeon scored with 12 seconds left in overtime to give the Minnesota a 3-2 victory Sunday night.
“I said, `Play Spurge a lot. He looks like he’s got it,'” Boudreau said. “He had his mojo today.”
Spurgeon added an assist. Jason Zucker had two assists, setting up Spurgeon in the extra session as the Wild tied a season-high with their fourth straight victory.
Matt Cullen and Eric Staal also scored for Minnesota, which has points in 15 of its last 16 home games (11-1-4). Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves for the Wild.
Joakim Ryan and Chris Tierney scored for the Sharks, who built a two-goal lead and were 23-0-1 when leading after two periods. Martin Jones stopped 38 shots for San Jose, which lost the final three games of a four-game trip.
“Tonight’s disappointing,” Sharks forward Logan Couture said. “You’re up 2-1 late in the game. We’ve got to find a way to shut it down. You’ve got less than 30 seconds left in overtime and we’ve got a pretty good team here in the shootout. You just can’t turn that over.”
Spurgeon managed to collect the puck in the offensive zone after knocking down Brent Burns’ clearing attempt. Spurgeon sent a cross-ice pass to an uncovered Zucker. Instead of shooting on Jones, who slid across the crease, Zucker passed back to Spurgeon for a wide-open goal.
“I had all day and all net shoot at, so I was just trying to put it in the middle of the net,” Spurgeon said.
Off their back-to-back losses in Nashville and Chicago in which it was outscored 10-2, San Jose outshot Minnesota 17-10 in the first period.
Ryan scored his third career goal 14 minutes into the first when he snapped a quick shot past Dubnyk on a cross-ice feed from Jannik Hansen. Tierney extended his career-best with his 15th goal 2:28 into the second before the Wild.
“We’re a good team when we get the lead usually, and it makes us easy for us to play our system when we’re not trailing, so that was big to get the lead,” Tierney said. “I thought we had a good first period, created a lot of chances, probably would have been nice to get another one in the first there.
Cullen countered with 43.4 seconds left in the period, tipping home a pass from Spurgeon.
Staal tied the game with 4:44 left on a wraparound that deflected off of Jones. Staal has eight goals and five assists in his past 10 games and reached the 30-goal mark for the sixth time in his career.
“He had a nice thing going there and it was nice to get that one, for sure, that first one to kind of crack it,” Cullen said of Jones. “It’s good to see the way that we just kept coming. I was really pleased with our last two periods the way we just kept coming and played some really good hockey.”
NOTES: Minnesota placed veteran F Chris Stewart on waivers on Sunday. Stewart had been scratched in 10 of the past 15 games. He has nine goals and four assists in 47 games this season. … San Jose D Justin Braun was scratched after missing the morning skate with the flu. It’s the first game Braun has missed this season. … Wild D Jonas Brodin practiced on Sunday for the first time since injuring his hand on Feb. 6. . The Sharks were 0 for 1 on the power play and are 0 for 20 in their past nine games. … Minnesota is 11-6-2 in the past 19 games against San Jose, including five straight wins.
Sharks: Host Edmonton on Tuesday night.
Wild: Host St. Louis on Tuesday night.