The Wild tried shots in tight, at the post and farther back from the slot.
They were mostly windups that sailed pucks from all different directions at Sharks goalie Martin Jones.
But amid all those attempts, 77 in total, a deflection and wraparound were the ones that tumbled into the net to spark a 3-2 overtime comeback for the Wild in front of 19,105 on Sunday at Xcel Energy Center. The victory extended the team’s win streak to four games — which ties its season high — and gave it a three-point lead over Dallas for the third seed in the Central Division.
“It’s not always going to be pretty,” center Matt Cullen said. “But the more you put there and the more pressure you apply, the better your chances of putting them in.”
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon one-timed a feed from winger Jason Zucker to cap off the rally with 12 seconds left in the extra period after Spurgeon started the play by blocking a clearing attempt from defenseman Brent Burns and then finding Zucker in front for the give-and-go. The goal was Spurgeon’s 200th career point. He reached 199 with an assist earlier in the game.
Zucker also had a two-point effort.
“I had all day and all net to shoot at,” Spurgeon said. “So I was just trying to put it in the middle of the net.”
This was the fifth time in the past six games the Wild stumbled into a deficit, but the team seems to have found a knack for climbing out of early holes. And while trailing early isn’t ideal, the resiliency the Wild has shown certainly is.
“Lately, we’re getting that feeling that we’re never out of it,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “That’s an important one to have.”
San Jose opened the scoring 14 minutes into the first period when defenseman Joakim Ryan was left all alone to one-time the puck past Dubnyk. Only 2:28 into the second, San Jose doubled its lead after center Chris Tierney finished a two-on-one rush with a backhander over Dubnyk, who ended up with 26 saves.
Falling further behind only seemed to galvanize the Wild, as the team peppered Jones with shots.
Center Joel Eriksson Ek had a look at the back post that Jones managed to slide over in time to corral. The goaltender also somehow got a piece of an Eric Staal one-timer from the middle before also frustrating winger Mikael Granlund at the top of the crease.
But on the Wild’s 19th shot of the second and 29th of the game, the team finally capitalized when Spurgeon’s throw toward the net was redirected by Cullen with 44 seconds remaining in the period.
“Play Spurge a lot. He looks like he’s got it,” coach Bruce Boudreau told assistant coach Bob Mason in the second.
That push by the Wild continued in the third and although it came up empty on two power plays, the team evened it with 4:44 to go after Staal stuffed the puck by Jones on a wraparound. It marked the sixth time in Staal’s career that he has reached the 30-goal plateau.
The Wild finished 0-for-3 with the man advantage, while the Sharks were 0-for-1.
Aside from the 41 shots the Wild threw at Jones, the team had another 24 shots blocked. Twelve more missed the net.
“We’re really starting to feel what works for us, and each guy is kind of finding his spot and how to contribute,” Dubnyk said. “That makes us a dangerous team.”