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Sharks play well enough to lose
Gutsy comeback overshadowed by little mistakes
1/23/18 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks seemed to be headed in the right direction after their last two games, but a top performing Winnipeg Jets team set them straight on Tuesday night at SAP Center. The Sharks gave up three goals in the opening period, before battling back to tie the game. They would lose the lead in the 3rd, before tying it again late, only to lose 18 seconds into overtime.

The 18 second mark seemed to be a period of defensive void. They would lose the game 18 ticks into the overtime, and give up the game's first goal 18 seconds into the contest.

Things started auspiciously for San Jose, allowing Winnipeg to score before most of the 17,237 were panted in their seats. Nikolaj Ehlers threw a puck to the front of the net where Mathieu Perreault was parked with his back to the net. Perreault extended his right skate to get a blade on the shot, deflecting it past Aaron Dell just inside the left post.

Joel Armia made it a 2-0 Jets lead at 4:32 of the period, after he gained inside position on Tomas Hertl then deposited his own rebound after an initial shot attempt kicked off Dell and bounced right back onto his stick. Armia had linemate Brandon Tanev on his right wing, but Marc-Edouard Vlasic had him covered. Hertl decided to peel off of Armia as the Jets winger uncorked his shot.

Hertl sent Dmitry Kulikov to the dressing room with a hit in the corner that opened up the Jets defenseman's face. That also earned Hertl a 5-minute boarding major and a trip to the showers when a game misconduct was also issued.

The Jets capitalized on the ensuing power play when Bryan Little rifled a shot past Dell from the high slot. It was a shot that Dell should have made if the Sharks were going to have any chance at a comeback.

The outburst wasn't a complete motivation killer for San Jose, who fought back late in the period. Joe Pavelski snapped a shot from the slot past Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck after the Sharks worked a series of passes deep in the Winnipeg zone. The goal was Pavelski's 10th of the season.

Logan Couture cut the Jets lead to a single goal 9:38 into the 2nd period. The Sharks centerman used an unconventional approach, losing the puck in his skates, then doing a pirouette before reclaiming it and firing a shot that beat Hellebuyck.

Blake Wheeler clipped Timo Meier with a high stick that put the Sharks on the power play for the second time of the game. San Jose used the opportunity to tie the game, when Chris Tierney ripped a one-time feed from Joe Thornton that found twine. San Jose worked the puck through the Winnipeg zone with great precision before Thornton setup Tierney with the shot from the top of the right circle.

Armia potted his second goal of the game at 11:38 of the 3rd period on a seemingly routine shot from the right wing boards. Armia may have used Joakim Ryan as a screen, as the defender was right in front of the Jets forward. The shot emerged from between Ryan's skates and floated over Dell's glove hand on a shot that had to be made.

Meier tied the game once again with a backhand shot from the slot with 4:40 left in regulation. The Sharks forward grabbed a Marc-Edouard Vlasic feed and fought off Dustin Byfuglien before releasing the puck. Meier's shot slid to the right of Hellebuyck's left pad for his 11th goal of the season.

During Meier's celebration, Byfuglien lifted his stick, catching the Sharks forward under the chin and whipping him off his skates. The Jets forward was assessed a two minute minor for roughing, which should have set the Sharks up nicely with four minutes and change to play. That opportunity would go by the wayside when San Jose was called for too many men.

Neither team would score again in regulation, but it took Winnipeg all of 18 seconds to convert in the overtime period. Byfuglien whipped around the back of the Sharks net from right to left then tried to jam a wrap-around chance that skipped through the crease. Pavelski was late to cover Bryan Little who lurked on the right side, punching the puck home for the game winner.

Game Notes:

* The game marked the 5th time the Sharks have surrendered three goals in the opening period, and 4th time it's happened at SAP Center.

* Tomas Hertl's game misconduct will surely be reviewed by the league and could result in additional disciplinary action. Kulikov appeared to turn his back on Hertl at the last second, but the propensity of blood on the ice helped the on ice officials assess teh game misconduct.

* San Jose lost Joe Thornton late in the game when his right leg was tangled up by Mikkel Boedker. Thornton headed straight for the dressing room and did not return. Thornton had surgery on his left knee last summer.


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1 2 3 OT T
WPG 3 0 1 1 5
SJ 1 2 1 0 4
1st period - 1, WPG, Perreault 15 (Ehlers), 0:18. 2, SJ, Armia 8 (Copp), 4:32. 3, WPG, Little 9 (Myers, Perreault), 11:56, (pp). 4, SJ, Pavelski 10 (unassisted), 19:14.
2nd period - 5, SJ, Couture 18 (Ward, Dillon), 9:38. 6, SJ, Tierney 12 (Thornton, Burns), 13:25, (pp).
3rd period - 7, WPG, Armia 9 (Tanev, Myers), 11:38. 8, SJ, Meier 11 (Vlasic, Pavelski), 15:20.
Overtime - 9, WPG, Little 10 (Byfuglien, Ehlers), 0:18.
1st period - Trouba, WPG (roughing), 8:13; Hertl, SJ (boarding major), 8:13; Hertl, SJ (game misconduct), 8:13.
2nd period - Wheeler, WPG (hooking), 4:17; Wheeler, WPG (high sticking), 11:43.
3rd period - Perreault, WPG (roughing), 9:00; Dillon, SJ (roughing), 9:00; Byfuglian, WPG (roughing), 15:20; Bench, SJ (too many men), 16:27.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
WPG - Hellebuyck 33 29
SJ - Dell 23 18
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
WPG 6 11 5 1 23
SJ 9 14 10 0 33
Power Play Conversion
WPG 1 of 3
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Bryan Little
Timo Meier
Joe Thornton
SAP Center - 17,237
Referees: Walsh, Furlatt. Linesmen: Wheler, Shewchyk.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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