ST. PAUL – The Sharks have picked a bad time to go through their worst stretch of the season.
The Wild never trailed in a 3-2 win over the Sharks, who lost their fourth straight in regulation for the first time. Minnesota, which entered with a five-game regulation losing streak of its own, swept the three-game season series.
San Jose enjoyed a nine-point lead on the division just seven days ago after a win over Buffalo, but could be in a tie in points with Edmonton by the time the puck drops for their game on Friday in Dallas.
Minnesota carried a 1-0 lead late into the second period before an outrageous sequence in which the teams combined for four goals in just a 63-second span.
The Sharks tied it on David Schlemko's wrist shot that deflected in off of a body in front. Patrick Marleau was battling for position in the slot at the time of the goal at 17:57.
Minnesota struck for the next two. Jason Pominville and Martin Hanzal chopped away at a loose puck at the side of the net and it bounced through at 18:30 with Hanzal getting credit, and just 15 seconds later, Zach Parise pushed Tomas Hertl off of a loose puck and fed Charlie Coyle for a snap shot at 18:45 to increase the Wild's lead to 3-1.
San Jose got one back at the 19-minute mark, though. Devan Dubnyk and Ryan Suter got mixed up on a puck behind the Minnesota net, and Marleau swooped in and banked it in off of Dubnyk before the goalie could get settled back in the crease.
That was as close as the Sharks would get, though. The fell to 9-4-1 in the second half of back-to-backs. They are just 2-7-2 in their last 11 games in St. Paul.
Minnesota dominated the opening frame, jumping ahead on a Matt Dumba power play goal. Eric Staal dug out a puck along the wall to Parise, who poked it to Dumba for an open wrist shot in the slot at 10:29.
Martin Jones kept the game manageable for the Sharks, making a series of remarkable stops on Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter on a Minnesota power play early in the second.
Minnesota had a 16-4 edge in shots after that power play, before the Sharks finally got some more offensive zone pressure later in the middle frame. Joonas Donskoi lost the handle on a breakaway, though, and Micheal Haley's turnaround wrist shot from the slot was turned away by Dubnyk before the late flurry of goals prior to the second intermission.
The Sharks had just one power play attempt, and did not score. They finished 0-for-5 against the Wild in the three head-to-head games. In their last 12 games overall, the power play is just 4-for-35.
Minnesota was 1-for-3 on the power play, and 3-for-8 against the Sharks in the season series, with one goal in each of the three meetings.
Jones and Dubnyk each played each of the three games against one another. The Sharks' starter fell to 2-4-0 in his career against Minnesota, allowing three goals on 27 shots, while Dubnyk ended a personal four-game losing streak with 21 saves.
A Vezina Trophy candidate, Dubnyk evened his record to 8-8-2 career against San Jose.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic was a late scratch due to the flu. Chris Tierney returned after he was sick on Monday in Dallas.
The Sharks remain without Jannik Hansen, who missed his second straight game with an upper body injury. Coach Pete DeBoer did not rule out the possibility that Hansen could return before the end of the road trip.
Brent Burns remains with no goals in his last 14 games, and no points in his last seven.
The Sharks go back to Dallas for a game on Friday at American Airlines Center. They lost to the Stars on Monday, 1-0, but beat them on March 12 at SAP Center, 5-1.
The road trip concludes on Saturday with their only visit of the regular season to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.