Wild beat San Jose 3-2, get back in Western Conference playoff race

Alex Stalock #32 and Ryan Hartman #38 of the Minnesota Wild celebrates after defeating the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on March 5, 2020 in San Jose, California. ((Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images))

For the first time in three months, the Minnesota Wild finds itself back in the Western Conference playoff picture.

The Wild had to hang on in the third period, but beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 late Thursday night. Goalie Alex Stalock made 40 saves, including 19 in the third period as the Sharks made a furious push late to try and tie the game. It was a special night for Stalock, who was drafted by the Sharks and spent five seasons in San Jose.

With the win, the Wild jumped past Vancouver, Nashville, Winnipeg and Arizona into the top Wild Card spot in the Western Conference with 75 points and is just two points behind Calgary for sixt with 15 games to play. They're in the No. 7 spot in the West, with games in hand on other teams fighting to get in.

Ryan Suter scored at 8:34 of the first period on a shot through traffic, with assists from Ryan Hartman and Mikko Koivu, to give the Wild the early 1-0 lead.

With the game tied 1-1, Alex Galchenyuk took advantage of a rebound in front of the net on assists from Suter and Zach Parise, burying a backhand shot to give the Wild a 2-1 lead at 11:30 of the second period. About three minutes later, Parise scored off a perfect feed from Kevin Fiala as the Wild took a 3-1 lead into the third period.

The Sharks got within 3-2 at the 9:08 mark of the third period, and things got tense for the Wild in the final 10 minutes. Joe Thornton hit the post on what would’ve been the game-tying goal, and Stalock stood tall in the third period as the Wild picked up two critical points.

The Wild is now 7-3 under interim coach Dean Evason, 14-6-1 in its last 21 games and has won six straight road games. Stalock is 11-3-1 in his last 15 games. The West Coast road trip continues as the Wild face the L.A. Kings Saturday afternoon, then head to Anaheim Sunday night.