The Wild's depth chart might be upside down.
Despite filling out the bottom of the lineup, the fourth line is playing like it's at the top — leading the Wild to a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Friday in another exemplary effort in front of 3,000 at Xcel Energy Center.
"They're giving us a real boost," coach Dean Evason said.
Zach Parise and Nick Bonino were the headliners yet again, each scoring a goal and combining for three points.
Overall, since their line came together with Nico Sturm two games ago, the three have racked up nine points.
"Just playing hockey," Bonino said. "Sometimes you get the bounces; sometimes you don't. I feel like for the most part Sturmy, Zach and myself, our game hasn't changed from Game 1 to now. The puck didn't go in as much as we would have liked probably the first little bit here, but just try to keep doing the right things and getting rewarded for it now.
"So, it always feels good."
After the Wild fell behind early on a near end-to-end goal by Tomas Hertl 3 minutes, 32 seconds into the first period — Hertl playing the puck off the boards to himself in the neutral zone — the fourth line did what it does best to even the score: get in on the forecheck.
Pressure by Parise and Sturm forced a Sharks turnover into the slot, and Bonino pounced on it at 9:30 for his second goal in as many games.
At 2:15, Mats Zuccarello buried a loose puck off a Victor Rask faceoff win to put the Wild ahead. The goal was Zuccarello's third in his last two games.
On the very next shift, only 1:05 later, the fourth line delivered its second goal of the night on a heads-up sequence. Parise chased down a dump in and then made a drop pass off the end boards to Bonino, who handed the puck off to Matt Dumba, and Dumba found Parise just outside the crease for the redirect.
The goal was Parise's third in four games, and the veteran winger has five points in his past five games. He's also sitting on 399 career points with the Wild after recording just his second game-winner of the season.
Dumba extended his point streak to a season-high three games with the assist, and Bonino's assist sealed another multi-point effort for the center-turned right winger. The last time Bonino had back-to-back multi-point games was April 4 and 6, 2019.
"Everybody is involved. Everybody is helping out," Joel Eriksson Ek said. "I think it's been great, and I think that's something we've got to keep doing. It's going to make us a dangerous team. I think right now Zach and Bones and Sturmy [are] playing amazing."
San Jose went 0-for-1 on the power play, but the Sharks did score on a Wild power play, which had a rare off night at 0-for-3.
The power play surrendered its second shorthanded goal over the last four games when Evander Kane scored on a breakaway off a Kevin Fiala turnover at 13:43 of the third.
Other than that, the Wild was fairly clean in its own end as it continued to distance itself from the disastrous trip to St. Louis last weekend that included the most lopsided loss in franchise history.
Cam Talbot made 20 saves, improving to 10-1 this season at Xcel Energy Center, while Martin Jones had 15.
The win was the Wild's 14th in its last 15 contests in St. Paul. Only Colorado and the New York Islanders (18) have more home victories than the Wild's 16.
"We're playing a strong game right now," Eriksson Ek said, "and we've got to keep it going."