Friday, March 28, 2014
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Jets Upset Sharks On Enstrom's Late Goal

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[March 28, 2014]  SAN JOSE, Calif.  Keeping it simple worked for the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

Defenseman Tobias Enstrom's power-play goal with 3:36 remaining enabled the underdog visitors to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 at SAP Center.

"We don't try to do too much," said Jets right winger Blake Wheeler, who assisted Enstrom for his third point in the game. "We're a long shot coming into the building against arguably the best team in the league. We just tried to make one more play than they did, and it worked out for us."

With the score tied 3-3, the Sharks committed two late-game penalties, and the visitors capitalized with the man advantage for the second time in the game.

With center Logan Couture off for lifting a puck over the glass on a previous penalty kill, Wheeler backhanded a feed through the crease to a pinching Enstrom, who punched home his ninth goal of the season for the winner.

"It's a call, it's a penalty, the puck didn't hit the glass," Couture said. "I tried to backhand it down and it kind of flipped up on me at the last second. It's just unlucky."


Winnipeg took advantage of San Jose's defensive breakdowns in the second period to outscore the hosts 2-1 for a 3-3 tie after 40 minutes.

Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic drove Wheeler wide, but Wheeler still managed a shot from the goal line that somehow snuck between San Jose goalie Antti Niemi's pads for a tying goal 1:55 into the period.

Sharks center Joe Thornton tripped Wheeler to cut a San Jose power play one minute short, and the Jets converted the resulting advantage after four-on-four skating expired. Wheeler sent a no-look pass through the Sharks' penalty-killing box where left winger Dustin Byfuglien celebrated his 29th birthday with a one-time goal at 9:32.

"He just keeps getting stronger, more powerful," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said of Byfuglien. "He was finishing his checks. He was fantastic. He's more than just a point-producer for us. He's out there killing penalties. He does so much for the team right now."

San Jose left winger Martin Havlat drew his second penalty of the night, and the Sharks cashed in for a second time at five-on-four. Center James Sheppard's blast from the slot glanced off Couture, who was battling Enstrom in front. Couture was credited with his 20th goal at 11:23 for a 3-3 tie.

"I was just putting my hand up to protect myself, and it hit my thumb," Couture said. "But it's fine."

The Sharks' suddenly potent power play earned a tiebreaking goal in the first period as the hosts played a dominant 20 minutes only to lead by one at the break.

Byfuglien wasn't happy about being penalized for interference against San Jose right winger Matt Nieto, and he was even more disappointed after the Sharks converted for the fourth time in five power plays spanning two games. San Jose right winger Brent Burns skated through a vacant slot to backhand his 21st goal  an on-going career-high total  past Winnipeg goalie Al Montoya at 14:27.

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San Jose broke on top within the first two minutes. Sheppard had loads of time at the right point to find pinching defenseman Dan Boyle, who slipped past Winnipeg left winger Andrew Ladd and scored on a backhand redirection at 1:57.

Boyle's ninth goal was the defenseman's first in 30 games dating back to Jan. 9.

The visitors tied the game on the next shift as Ladd atoned by potting a rebound left by Niemi at 2:33 to cap a two-on-two break with Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart caught up ice.

"It was nice to get back into the win column," Ladd said. "I thought we were pretty resilient all night. We gave up power plays, and it was important for us to try and get some power plays on the other end."

Couture countered, "Sloppy, we weren't very good. I hate making excuses, but the ice was pretty bad for both teams. ... We weren't very good tonight."

NOTES: San Jose hopes to have RW Adam Burish back during the postseason after he had two fingers on his left hand repaired Wednesday one day after blocking a shot in Edmonton. ... San Jose C Logan Couture returned to the lineup after missing one game due to a lower-body injury. ... Winnipeg G Ondrej Pavelec missed his sixth straight game, but he hopes to return Saturday in Los Angeles. Pavelec practiced with teammates Wednesday and Thursday for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury March 14. Backup G Al Montoya made his sixth straight start Thursday. ... Jets LW Andrew Ladd returned after missing a game Monday for the first time in 234 outings to attend the birth of his daughter. ... San Jose C Joe Thornton, the team captain, appeared in his 1,200th career regular-season game. ... Winnipeg continues its five-game road trip with stops in Los Angeles, Anaheim and Phoenix. ... San Jose plays at Colorado on Saturday before returning home for three straight. ... D Scott Hannan and C Freddie Hamilton were San Jose's healthy scratches, while C Chris Thorburn (foot), C Mark Scheifele (knee), C Patrice Cormier, RW Devin Setoguchi and D Zach Bogosian did not dress for Winnipeg.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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