Wild beat Sharks 5-2 for 8th straight win

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Minnesota Wild left wing Jordan Greenway (18) is congratulated by Kevin Fiala (22) after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Jordan Greenway scored twice and the Minnesota Wild beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Thursday night for their eighth straight win.

Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek and Kirill Kaprizov also scored for the Wild, who took over the NHL lead with 39 points, their most through 26 games in franchise history.

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“I think it’s great,” Fiala said. “We’re such a tight group. We always believe in it. ... Inside our room, we want to be on top of the league and right now I think we are. It’s still early, so we just have to keep it going.”

Jonathan Dahlen and Tomas Hertl scored for the Sharks.

Minnesota’s eight-game winning streak is the longest current run in the league and the third-longest in franchise history. The Wild have scored at least four goals in seven consecutive games.

“It’s just a huge credit to the room, their preparation for the game,” Wild coach Dean Evason praised. “We’re happy the way that we’re conducting ourselves in the right way.”

Added Greenway: “We want to be the top team. We want to stay on top. So in order for us to do that, we’ve got to continue to do the things that have gotten us here.”

Cam Talbot made 33 saves to improve to 15-5. Adin Hill made 22 saves and fell to 6-8.

Fiala put the Wild up 1-0 early, scoring his fourth goal of the season with 13:38 left in the first period.

Eriksson Ek and Greenway added power-play goals in the second to give Minnesota a 3-0 lead.

Dahlen got San Jose on the board with 16:31 remaining in the third period, deflecting Erik Karlsson’s point shot past Talbot.

Hertl scored his team-leading 13th goal on the power play with 6:34 left to bring the Sharks within one.

“I was proud of our guys for battling back,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “I don’t think we had our best legs in the first two periods, but we found another gear in the third. It just wasn’t good enough tonight.”

Greenway and Kaprizov scored empty-netters in the final minutes to seal the win. Kaprizov also had an assist and has recorded five goals and nine assists during his career-best seven-game point streak.

“We know as much as anybody that teams aren’t going to quit,” Evason said. “They’re just going to keep coming, and certainly at the end of the game they did. It’s a great league and teams are real good. We liked a lot of things we did in this hockey game defensively and we’ll take that going forward.”


Sharks D Brent Burns played in his 624th consecutive game, tying Patrick Marleau for the longest streak in franchise history. He had two shots on goal in 22:50.


James Reimer served as San Jose’s backup goaltender after missing four games with a non-COVID-19 illness. The Sharks reassigned G Alexei Melnichuk to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.


It was an emotional night for Wild center Mason Shaw, who made his long-awaited NHL debut after recovering from three ACL surgeries, including two since being drafted in the fourth round by Minnesota in 2017.

“There’s been some obstacles along the way that have challenged me, but I truly believe that it led me to this point for a reason,” Shaw said.

The 23-year-old nearly scored in his first game, hitting the left post in the second period. He finished with two shots on goal in 10:38.

“You’ve got to have good people in your corner — my family, teammates, coaches — a lot of good people around me keeping me going because there were for sure some times where you had some doubts,” Shaw said. “And then just a love for the game. I mean, this is what (I’ve) dreamed about since I was a kid, so to finally get here, it’s an amazing feeling.”


Wild captain Jared Spurgeon returned after missing eight games with a lower-body injury. ... Minnesota D Matt Dumba missed the game with a non-COVID-19 illness. ... Wild C Frédérick Gaudreau remains in COVID-19 protocol, missing his fifth straight game. ... Sharks RW Kevin Labanc was reinserted into the lineup after being a healthy scratch last game.


Wild: Visit Los Angeles on Saturday.

Sharks: Host Dallas on Saturday.


More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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