ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist, Cam Talbot made 20 saves and the Minnesota Wild held on to defeat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on Friday night.
Mats Zuccarello and Zach Parise also scored for the Wild, who won their second straight.
Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane scored and Martin Jones stopped 15 of 18 shots for the Sharks, who lost their fourth in a row.
The teams face off again Saturday night in St. Paul.
Talbot stood tall as he started for the 11th time in Minnesota's last 13 games. The Wild are 8-1-2 over that stretch with the eight-year veteran in the nets.
“There’s been a lot of different factors, but goaltending certainly has been a key factor all season for us,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “Games that we haven’t been real good, it’s allowed us to get into games, picked up us. It's been a real positive for us.”
Talbot came up big with eight minutes left and the Wild protecting a 3-1 lead. Kevin Lebanc hopped out of the penalty box and had a breakaway that Talbot snuffed out with a glove save.
That turned out to be a huge moment as Kane scored a short-handed goal two minutes later to make the score 3-2. Kane poked the puck away from Kevin Fiala at the Sharks’ blue line, beat Fiala to the puck at center ice, skated in alone and beat Talbot over his shoulder for his 17th goal.
“We gave up a couple of chances where, yeah, we want to score, we want to be aggressive, but we have to still be on the right side of the opponent and the right side of the puck to not give that up,” Evason said.
The Sharks pulled Jones for an extra man with more than 90 seconds left, but the Wild defense held on for the win.
“Real frustrating,” San Jose coach Bob Boughner said. “I think we were looking for that response game after our last couple games, and we got it. We were playing hard and we did a lot of great things out there.”
San Jose struck first on a strong individual effort by Hertl less than four minutes into the game. Hertl gathered the puck in his own zone, played it off the sideboards to himself at center ice and skated in alone on Talbot, who let a wrist shot slip past him for Hertl’s 13th goal of the season.
The Wild tied it midway through the period on Bonino’s unassisted goal. Bonino pounced on a loose puck in the high slot and fired a quick shot that beat a screened Jones. Bonino has five points in his last two games.
Minnesota took a 2-1 lead early in the second. After Victor Rask won a faceoff in San Jose's zone, the puck drifted over to Zuccarello, who beat Jones for his ninth goal of the season and third in two games.
Just over a minute later, Parise redirected a feed from Matt Dumba at the goalmouth to give the Wild a 3-1 lead. It was Parise’s third goal in four games and sixth of the year. Bonino picked up an assist on the play.
“He's played 1,000 games in this league,” Bonino said of Parise. “He knows where to be. He’s always at the net. You know when you shoot it, he’s going to be there for rebounds, he’s going to be there for screens.”
The line of Bonino, Parise and Nico Sturm — technically Minnesota's fourth line — has four even-strength goals in the last two games. That kind of depth has been key to the Wild's strong play this year, especially at home, where they improved to 16-4-0 on Friday.
“You can look at every winning team the past however many years, there’s always not only scoring contribution, but just every line brings something, whether it’s shutting a team down, whether it’s energy, whether it’s faceoffs, scoring,” Bonino said. “So I think when you have all four lines rolling — it’s always a bonus when every line scores, but as long as guys are doing what they do best out there. It seems like when our team does that, we’re winning these games.”
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