[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
"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
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
"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
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
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.