Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s goal with 4.5 seconds left lifts Sharks over Jets
Marc-Edouard Vlasic needed only 3 seconds to give the San Jose Sharks a win over the Winnipeg Jets in a game that seemed destined for overtime.
With 8 seconds remaining in the third period of a tied game, Joe Pavelski won an offensive zone faceoff to Logan Couture, who set up Vlasic for the decisive goal with 4.5 seconds to go that gave the Sharks a 3-2 victory on Monday night.
The shot got past Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson just in time.
"To finish it off before overtime is big. It worked out for us," said Vlasic, whose goal denied at least one point to a team the Sharks are battling for playoff positioning. "We won the draw, and Couture made a nice pass.
"There was a little bit of room, and I was able to pick a little spot up there."
Brent Burns and Melker Karlsson also scored for the Sharks. Andrew Ladd and Jay Harrison had goals for Winnipeg in the only NHL game on Monday.
Harrison’s shot from the high slot on the power play got through Sharks goalie Antti Niemi’s pads at 4:03 of the third period to tie it 2-2.
"We were hanging around long enough to give ourselves a chance of winning the game, and those are stingers, ones you lose at the end like that," Harrison said.
The teams entered the night holding both of the Western Conference’s wild card playoff spots. The Sharks (21-14-5) moved into a tie with Vancouver and Los Angeles for second in the Pacific Division.
"We couldn’t be happier, obviously, to get the win and fix what was broken," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan, whose team had just one win in its previous five games. "We didn’t play very well against St. Louis the other night, and Winnipeg plays a similar game."
The Jets (20-13-7) are winless in 13 games in which they trailed after two periods.
"We’re not holding back," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "I liked our third period as much as any part of our game. I don’t think we can open up our game more to generate more."
Maurice said his biggest concern was the first 30 minutes of the game, in which his team didn’t generate much offense at even strength.
"You have eight seconds left, and you want to get it to overtime, so yeah, it stings," said Ladd, the Jets captain.
The Jets killed two penalties in the final 10 minutes. Ladd was called for illegal contact to Karlsson’s head, and Paul Postma was whistled for delay of game.
San Jose had seven power plays. Winnipeg had three.
Hutchinson, who entered with the NHL’s best save percentage and goals-against average, stopped 34 shots. Making his fifth start in six games, Hutchinson has received an increased workload at the expense of longtime starter Ondrej Pavelec.
"Their team does a good job of getting a lot of traffic and shooting for sticks," Hutchinson said. "There’s very few shots tonight that came off their guys’ sticks clean and made it all the way to me without being touched."
Niemi made 17 saves in his eighth start in nine games.
The teams traded power-play goals in the first period, with Burns opening the scoring at 2:53.
Pavelski won an offensive zone faceoff, and two passes later Burns hammered in a slap shot from the point for his 11th goal.
"It’s a fast team and a tough building to play in," Burns said. "I think it was going back and forth. It was good to get that last one."
Ladd took a pass in the high slot from Bryan Little and beat Niemi to the glove side at 9:17 for his 15th goal.
The Sharks had a 13-4 shots advantage in the first period and limited the Jets to only one even-strength shot.
Pavelski floated a shot from the right boards that Karlsson tipped down and through Hutchinson’s pads to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead early in the second.
The Jets begin a three-game Western swing Thursday at Arizona. The Sharks will continue their three-game trip Tuesday at Minnesota.
NOTES: San Jose C Joe Thornton missed a second straight game with an upper-body injury. Thornton was placed on the injured list after playing in 319 consecutive games. Grant Clitsome missed the game with an undisclosed injury, making it five Winnipeg defensemen sidelined. Callup Julien Brouillette made his first start with the Jets. … Winnipeg forward Michael Frolik went to the dressing room following a hard check late in the second period, but returned for the start of the third.