The playoffs apparently can't come soon enough for the surging San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks routed the Minnesota Wild 6-1 on Thursday night at HP Pavilion as they took another step forward in their playoff push. Logan Couture and Martin Havlat each scored two goals, Raffi Torres had his first goal as a Shark, and Joe Pavelski notched his 14th goal of the season. Antti Niemi made 27 saves to earn his League-leading 23rd win. .

The six goals matched the Sharks' season high -- they beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-3 in their second game of the season -- and the five-goal margin of victory was their biggest of the season.

"I think we're going in the right direction now," Couture said. "You always want to be playing well going into the playoffs."

San Jose has 55 points and remained in fifth place in the Western Conference race. The Los Angeles Kings, a 2-1 winner against the Columbus Blue Jackets, also have 55 points but are fourth because they have more non-shootout wins.

"We all feel comfortable," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "We all like where our game is. We can still improve in some things and we still got some games in the regular season to win. But, yeah, we keep getting better. It's a perfect time for that."

Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored for the Wild, who fell to seventh in the West with 51 points, one behind the St. Louis Blues. The Wild have two days to regroup before opening a three-game homestand Sunday against the Calgary Flames.

"We didn't deserve anything today," said Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who gave up five goals on 27 shots before being pulled. "We know we can play a lot better than that. We weren't playing well at any point of the game today. We have to get back to basics and do the small things right. We have to get back to playing our game. If we play the right way, we'll be fine.

"Sunday is the biggest day of the season for us. We have to make sure we get better by then."