ST. PAUL, Minn. — Devan Dubnyk gave up two goals late in the second period during an otherwise stellar night in net for Minnesota, potential trouble for a team on a skid.
The Wild scored twice themselves in the same decisive stretch, sending the San Jose Sharks away with another defeat.
Martin Hanzal and Charlie Coyle scored 15 seconds apart right before the second intermission to help the Wild stop a five-game losing streak and hang on for a 3-2 victory over the Sharks on Tuesday night.
"This is what we needed against a really good hockey team on the other end," said Dubnyk, who stopped 21 shots. "We can stop talking about the other stuff now. This is what we’re about."
David Schlemko and Patrick Marleau had goals that gave each team two scores in a 63-second span to set a record for the fastest four-goal stretch in Wild history, but the Sharks didn’t get any more on the way to a season-high fourth straight loss. They have four goals during the streak, after losing 1-0 in Dallas on Monday.
"Obviously, there is some concern," centre Logan Couture said. "But we’ve got a chance to finish strong."
Matt Dumba scored on a power play in the first period to give Minnesota a recently rare early lead and restore some confidence for Dubnyk, whose 37 wins are tied for second-most in the NHL. The Wild improved to 3-8 in March and cut their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to two points.
"We just came out the right way," Coyle said. "It was nice to get that first one and feel good and get some momentum right away."
Among the league leaders all winter but slumping at a critical time, two teams struggling to recapture their rhythm badly needed the two points on this night.
After playing more than four months without consecutive losses until their slide accelerated two weeks ago, the Wild have fallen behind rival Chicago in the Central Division chase after leading the Western Conference for most of the season. They’re six points behind, with one game in hand.
They held the ominous players-only, closed-door meeting on Sunday after a 5-4 loss to Winnipeg when they outshot the Jets 48-21 and coach Bruce Boudreau angrily cut short his postgame news conference.
"Sometimes it was even unlucky games we lost, but this was really a huge win for us," Hanzal said. "It’s going to build the confidence of the team."
Anaheim, Edmonton and Calgary have surged into contention for the Pacific Division title, shrinking the Sharks’ lead to four points over the Ducks and Oilers and five points over the Flames.
"We just need to stick with it," Schlemko said. "You drop four in a row? Obviously teams are going to be catching up to you. Somebody’s going to be getting points. We’re more worried about this room and our own game and the level we need to get to."
Schlemko’s wrist shot from the blue line with 2:03 left in the second period tied the game after the puck blew through traffic and bounced off Wild defenceman Marco Scandella.
Hanzal answered with a rebound from the side of the net for his first goal in 10 games with the Wild since being acquired in a trade with Arizona. Coyle followed Zach Parise’s second assist with a one-timer for a 3-1 lead before Marleau brought the Sharks closer with his wraparound.
"We tried hard," Boudreau said. "They probably ran out of a little bit of gas."
NOTES: Martin Jones made 24 saves for the Sharks. He gave up more than two goals for the first time in nine games. … The Wild swept the season series, winning all three games, for the first time in their history. … The Wild have gone 11 straight home games without allowing a power-play goal. … Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was a late scratch with the flu. San Jose centre Chris Tierney returned after missing Monday’s game with the illness. … Dumba became the 11th player to reach the 10-goal mark for the Wild this season, matching his career high.
Sharks: Continue their four-game Central Division tour with a second visit to Dallas this week to play the Stars on Friday.
Wild: Play the second leg of their three-game homestand Thursday, hosting the Philadelphia Flyers.