Winnipeg Jets 5 San Jose Sharks 4 (Shootout) – The Winnipeg Jets trailed 2-0 after the first period, 3-1 in the second and 4-3 in the third but perseverance paid off in a game that saw them fire 46 shots at Antti Niemi, the most shots the Sharks have allowed this season. The Jets have now won three straight games at home, three of their last four overall and for only the second time this season they have won back-to-back games. The Sharks meanwhile are 0-1-4 in their last five.
Dan Boyle opened the scoring for San Jose on a power play and, despite having been outshot 10-3 at that point, the Sharks were up 1-0. Just 1:14 after that goal, Sharks centre Tomas Hertl broke in alone, scored his rookie leading 10th of the year and the first period ended 2-0 despite the Jets outshooting San Jose 15-9.
At the 6:12 mark of the second period, Michael Frolik got the Jets on the board on a great pass from Matt Halischuk. It was Frolik's fourth goal of the season, one more than he scored last year in the shortened season. That goal started a scoring spree as Tommy Wingels restored San Jose's two goal lead 41 seconds later. With the goal, Wingels extended his point streak to six games. But, Dustin Byfuglien made it three goals in just 2:26 when he scored his first of the year to get the Jets back to within one.
It has been an interesting few days for Chris Thorburn. Friday when it was announced that Byfuglien had scored his first, Thorburn was credited with his first point of the year. But when the goal was changed to Eric Tangradi, Thorburn lost his assist. Tonight, Thorburn was initially given an assist on Byfuglien'sgoal, but after video review, the assist was changed to, you guessed it, Tangradi.
Before the second period came to an end, Grant Clitsome also scored his second of the year to tie the game. Clitsome had two assists to go along with his goal for his second career three point game. There was plenty of energy in the MTS Centre for this one, as the shots after two periods were 32-21 in favour of the Jets. Nothing seems to come easy to the Jets though as Byfuglien was given a delay of game penalty at the buzzer for shooting the puck over the glass with a couple seconds left.
The Jets killed that penalty, but could not kill a tripping call on Halischuk and again found themselves behind. The Jets were short-handed three times in the third, with the power plays at the end of the night favouring San Jose six to two. The Sharks lead the NHL in power play chances while the Jets are second in the NHL in total short-handed situations.
With the period winding down, and Ondrej Pavelec starting to make his way out of the net, Bryan Little found Andrew Ladd in the slot and his quick release found the back of the net to tie the game at four. It was Ladd's fifth goal of the season. The final shots after regulation and overtime were 46-34, with both goalies being forced to make big saves.
Ladd put one off the post in overtime, before being the only player to score in the three-round shootout to earn the Jets their eighth win of the year. The Jets are now 6-5-1 at home. It was Ladd's fourth shootout goal of the season and fifth career shootout winner, second this year. In his career, Ladd is now 10 for 20. Patrick Marleau did score in overtime but the goal was called back as the officials ruled Wingels had interfered with Pavelec. There was no penalty on the play, but the goal was disallowed.
The Jets are now 3-1 in the shootout and are a perfect six for six over the last two shootouts, Pavelec replied a quick "no" on the TSN Jets post-game show about perhaps liking that part of the game a little bit more.
With the two assists, Little now has five goals and nine points in the last seven games, Ladd now has 12 points in 13 career games against San Jose and has two goals and eight points in his last six games.
The Jets will play in Detroit Tuesday (TSN, TSN 1290), then at home against Philadelphia Friday (TSN Jets, TSN 1290). It is the second meeting of the season with the Red Wings after a 4-2 win for the Jets last Monday.
Jets' coach Claude Noel had reason to smile after this one. "The outcome was great, we played a strong game. We battled back, didn't lose our focus or our hope. Never got rattled, where a week or two back we might have. It's a huge building block in a lot of different ways. We played with some heart, some passion. I really enjoyed the game," He said.
The Jets played their style for the win. "We were good on the fore-check and put pucks to the net," continued Noel. "They don't give you much. We played hard." On Ladd's game, "he has a sneaky wrist shot and his will to win is infectious."