LOS ANGELES — The rebound caromed right to Kevin Fiala as the winger faced a mostly empty net.
"I thought it was going to bounce over my stick," Fiala said.
That's the type of puck luck, or lack thereof, Fiala had over the past few weeks, but not on Thursday at San Jose.
Fiala buried that shot, ending a seven-game goalless drought and opening the scoring in a 5-2 victory for the Wild.
"It felt really good," Fiala said. "Can't lie about that, for sure. But it's gotta keep rolling."
It was Fiala's fourth goal of the season. He could have plenty more based on his shot total.
After the game vs. the Sharks, Fiala was tied with center Ryan Hartman for the team lead in shots at 89. And Fiala generated numerous close calls during his dry spell — putting 30 shots on net and winding up on 46 pucks overall in between his third goal on Nov. 21 at Tampa Bay and that finish against San Jose.
"We've been winning, so it's great for the team," Fiala said. "That's what's been motivating me to keep going. I feel like I've been playing actually really, really good. Been hitting the post and having good chances. Just couldn't get it in. [Thursday] I got it in, and hopefully it keeps going."
Greenway on the power play
Fiala also had a role in another goal Thursday, setting up Jordan Greenway in the second period on the eventual game-winner.
"Kev made a pretty good play at the blue line," said Greenway, who sent a wrist shot past Sharks goalie Adin Hill. "Put it on a platter for me, so I just had to find a way to beat the goalie."
The goal came on the power play, the first Greenway has scored in his career — a change of scenery for the winger that he merited through his recent performance.
Before scoring twice vs. San Jose, Greenway had two goals and two assists over his previous four games.
"His play warranted that he got an opportunity there," coach Dean Evason said. "We've talked about how good he's played for the last month, and he wasn't getting rewarded. But you play the right way, you get some looks and he's made the best of it."
Winter Classic spotlight
Captain Jared Spurgeon was featured in the second episode of the "Road to the NHL Winter Classic," which was televised Wednesday on TNT.
The clip showed Spurgeon watching the Wild while he was sidelined with a lower-body injury and spending time with his wife, Danielle, and their four children.
"The young ones took a little to warm up to it, but they'll like it in the long run to look back at it," said Spurgeon, who returned from that injury on Thursday. "So it's pretty cool."
Goaltender Jesper Wallstedt, who was drafted 20th overall by the Wild earlier this year, has been named to Sweden's roster for the World Junior Championship that begins Dec. 26 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.
The Wild's visit to downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to take on the Kings was the last time the team will play at Staples Center before the arena changes its iconic name after a 22-year run.
Starting Christmas Day, the venue will be called Crypto.com Arena.