(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks scored four times and shut out the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. Goals came from Tim Heed, Tomas Hertl, and two from Logan Couture. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 38 stops for the shutout. At the other end, Jets goaltenders faced a combined 33 shots and each allowed two goals.
Despite giving up 38 shots, the Sharks defense got the job done. Winnipeg has one of the best records in the NHL this season, 14-5-3 going into the game against the Sharks. After the game, Sharks assistant coach Steve Spott said: “To hold them off the scoreboard…they’ve got a high powered offense over there, so to do what we did tonight, it was excellent.”
The Sharks saw yet another uncounted goal in the first period of Saturday’s game. Just 3:37 in, Joel Ward found the puck under Steve Mason’s left pad and poked it in the net. The whistle blew before the puck went in, as the official had lost sight of the puck.
Perhaps used to such setbacks by now, San Jose responded with two viable first period goals. The first was a power play goal from Tim Heed with assists to Kevin Labanc and Joe Thornton. Heed’s one-timer came from high in the slot and went in off the post. The second goal came at 19:44 of the first, from Logan Couture. Assists on the second goal went to Justin Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Mason stopped Vlasic’s shot but the rebound went to the far side of the blue paint, where Couture closed fast and beat the goalie to the puck.
At the end of the first period, the shots were 13-9 for the Sharks.
The Jets changed goaltenders to start the second period, putting Connor Hellebuyck in for Steve Mason. Mason evidently sustained an upper body injury.
Winnipeg closed the shot gap in the first five minutes, to 16-15, but the Sharks gunked up the Jets offense so that those shots were not terribly dangerous. At the 6:05, Dylan DeMelo went to the box for slashing Joel Armia and the Jets were on their first power play of the game. The Sharks penalty kill was stifling and only allowed one shot on goal to the power play.
The Sharks had to face another slashing penalty at 9:56, this time on Brenden Dillon. The Sharks held the Jets to just one shot again, only this shot was a harrowing affair. The puck slipped past Martin Jones and and was snatched back from the brink by Joel Ward’s quick stick.
Dylan DeMelo went back to the box at 13:02, this time for interference. Instead of clogging up their own zone during this penalty kill, the Sharks jumped out with a short handed rush from Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl. Couture carried the puck in with Hertl on his right, and no Winnipeg player between them and the goalie. Couture took his time selecting the shot and added a third tally to San Jose’s collection. Assists went to Tomas Hertl and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
The second period shot count was 16-5 Winnipeg, for a total shot count of 24-18 Winnipeg.
At 5:08 of the third, Dylan DeMelo was the subject of another penalty, taking a high stick from Joel Armia. The Sharks power play did a pretty good job keeping the puck out of their own end, but could not get organized in the Jets’ end of the ice. They did get credit for two shots.
By the midpoint of the period, the Sharks had closed the gap in shots, adding eleven to their count, while limiting the Jets to just four.
The Sharks had a bit of a scare at 13:28 when Martin Jones had to take a moment to talk to one of the trainers. After the game, the team would only say that he was being evaluated.
Tomas Hertl extended the lead to four with an empty net goal at 16:50, with assists from Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns.
The Sharks will begin a four game road trip on Tuesday in Philadelphia at 4:00 pm PT.