Jets beat Sharks to extend points streak to franchise-record 10 games
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Gabriel Vilardi broke a tie on a power play at 3:14 of the third period, Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves and the Winnipeg Jets beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Thursday night to extend their points streak to a franchise-record 10 games.
“It’s fun,” Vilardi said. “It’s fun to play hockey. It’s fun when you win. Obviously, anyone can say that, but we have belief in each other and play for each other. We’ve got to keep going.”
NHL-worst San Jose has lost 10 straight to fall to 9-27-3. The Sharks began the season with 11 consecutive losses. Winnipeg has won four in a row to improve to 24-9-4.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to find ways to win,” Sharks center Luke Kunin said. “It’s frustrating right now. Guys are working, trying to get out of this and the only way out is to just keep your head down and get to work. Just learning from it.”
Morgan Barron also scored Winnipeg, which has allowed three or fewer goals in a franchise-record 27 straight games. The Jets lead the NHL with 33 such games this season.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game,” Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon said. “Obviously, they’re desperate with the way the last nine games had gone for them. Happy to get out of here with a big win.”
Alexander Barabanov scored for San Jose, which hasn’t recorded a point since beating the Jets 2-1 on Dec. 12.
Hellebuyck, named to his fourth All-Star Game earlier Thursday, improved to 19-6-3.
Barabanov opened the scoring midway through the second period. Winnipeg tied it 1:22 later when Barron redirected Neal Pionk’s shot past Mackenzie Blackwood.
Vilardi broke the tie early in the third on the power play, scoring his eighth goal of the season.
“That’s one of the best power plays I’ve seen us have all year,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said. “The puck was moving around. I loved that power play tonight.”
Blackwood stopped 28 shots.
Before the game, the Sharks announced that defenseman Matt Benning underwent hip surgery that is expected to sideline him for the rest of the season. The 29-year-old had two assists in 14 games before sustaining the injury Dec. 3 against the New York Rangers.
Jets: At Anaheim on Friday night.
Sharks: Host Toronto on Saturday night.
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