A 3-2 victory in San Jose Thursday night pushed the Wild into a playoff spot for the first time in exactly three months – December 6 – as they leapt four teams in the standings.
With 75 points, the Wild are in seventh place in the Western Conference and in control of the first wild-card spot. Four teams are right behind Minnesota with 74 points each: Vancouver, Nashville, Winnipeg and Arizona.
Ryan Suter and Zach Parise each had a goal and an assist and Alex Galchenyuk scored to help the Wild win on the road for a sixth consecutive game. They're 14-6-1 in their past 21 games and 7-3 under Dean Evason, who took over coaching after Bruce Boudreau was fired on Valentine's Day.
Alex Stalock, who is 11-3-1 in his last 15 starts, made 40 saves on a night the Wild were outshot 42-27.
"Goaltending has been huge and [Stalock] has been solid," Suter said, via Wild.com. "We're kind of feeding off that right now. We just need to continue that effort."
Minnesota has a chance to keep moving up the standings as they continue the California road trip with games Saturday and Sunday against Western Conference bottom-feeders Los Angeles and Anaheim.
And don't look now, but with 15 games left in the regular season Minnesota is within seven points of Dallas for third place in the Central Division.