Over 16,000 fans may not agree, but the San Jose Sharks defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 in Patrik Laine’s return to the lineup.
Patrick Marleau scored with four and a half minutes remaining to give the Sharks the win, but it wasn’t without its controversy. Melker Karlsson picked up a penalty shot on the penalty kill when he got behind Jacob Trouba and made an attempt at the net before having the puck knocked off his stick. The replay appeared to show stick hitting stick, which wouldn’t have resulted in a penalty shot. Karlsson took advantage and beat Ondrej Pavelec to tie the game.
Late in the game, more controversy arose as the Jets piled around the net. Aaron Dell made the original save, but Dustin Byfuglien got his stick into the pads of Dell and pushed him, which jogged the puck loose and into the net. The ref blew the whistle and waved it off, saying the play was dead. The play was reviewed, but during the review, the Sharks challenged the play for goaltender interference. The challenge wasn’t needed, as the call on the ice was confirmed.
Laine picked up an assist in his return to the lineup, taking three shots on net while playing almost 22 minutes.
The Jets pulled their goalie late, which leads to this fun stat: Joe Thornton has three goals this season and all three have been scored into an empty net.
The Jets had a strong start to the period which was stopped by a holding penalty to Nic Petan. They had a solid first thirty seconds before taking a bad too-many-men penalty. The Sharks had a two-man advantage for a minute before Logan Couture passed it to over to Brent Burns, who blew a shot blocker side past Pavelec. Burns continued his amazing season with point number 51.
The Jets pulled even on an amazing breakaway move by Bryan Little. Byfuglien and Josh Morrissey passed the puck back and forth before Morrissey sent Little on a breakaway with a perfect pass. Little fought off the backcheck by Joel Ward before going to the backhand and sliding it under the pad of Dell.
— GameTimeArt (@GameTimeArt) January 25, 2017
Later in the period, on a routine pinch, Tobias Enstrom caught an edge and went hard into the side boards. Enstrom got up and skated off, but went straight down the tunnel to the dressing room. The Jets responded with an incredible shift. Dell had the answer with two big saves on Morrissey and Little.
Karlsson took a hooking call with five minutes left in the period, giving the Jets’ 15th-ranked power play a chance to take the lead. The Jets got a couple of chances but weren’t able to convert, leaving it at 1-1 at the end of the first.
The good news for the Jets at the start of the period was that Enstrom made his way back onto the ice. The bad news was a missed assignment that led to a Logan Couture tap-in right in front of the net.
The middle frame continued pretty evenly, with no team grabbing any certain momentum. The Jets’ Blake Wheeler headed down the tunnel briefly but returned to the bench shortly after. The Jets got a great chance off a Byfuglien point shot. The puck dropped right in front of the net and Little jammed it between Dell’s legs. Dell smartly got down and then turned his legs to keep the puck out of the net. The play was reviewed but the call remained no goal.
Off a defensive zone faceoff, the Jets got control of the puck and brought it into the Sharks’ zone. Wheeler sent the puck towards Byfuglien but it bounced around a bit before Wheeler picked it up again and sent a slow pass to Andrew Copp. Copp fired a laser beam to the top corner which went bar down. Oddly, “BARDOWN” was the Jets’ reward code for the night.
Following up on the momentum, the Jets had an outstanding chance as Mark Scheifele won a battle down low with Burns and passed it to Wheeler who fired it cross-ice to a pinching Trouba. An amazing save by Dell kept the score 2-2 and the Sharks headed to the locker room still tied up after 40.
The third period started without Enstrom on the Winnipeg bench. It also started with heavy pressure from the Sharks, who kept the pressure on for what seemed like two straight minutes. A couple of big saves by Pavelec kept the game tied. The Sharks took five shots in the first three minutes.
The Jets responded with a series of one-timers. Nikolaj Ehlers hit the post on the first one.
Laine took a shot and sent it wide. Morrissey picked it up and sent it towards Dell. The save was made, but the rebound went to the slot, and Little snapped it off the bar, off the back of Dell, and into the net. They got another huge chance right after, but couldn’t capitalize on it.
The Sharks took a penalty and sent the Jets on the power play. During the penalty kill, Karlsson got a breakaway but had the puck knocked off his stick by Trouba. The ref called a penalty shot against Trouba and Karlsson took advantage and scored over Pavelec’s glove. The goal was shorthanded, and the Jets have now given up shorthanded goals in back-to-back games.
— Shayne Pasquino (@shaynepasquino) January 25, 2017
The Jets made it official that Enstrom would not return, out with an upper-body injury. In response to the Sharks’ goal, the Jets attacked Dell with shots and tips, but somehow, Dell kept them out along with some help from David Schlemko.
The Sharks took advantage on a great pass from Ryan Carpenter. Carpenter came down the boards before passing it across the crease to a wide open Marleau, who put it into the wide-open net.
With the net empty, the Jets went to the attack. While the puck was in the zone, the Jets threw it towards the net then battled around a sprawling Dell. The puck ended up in the net, but the whistle blew and the goal was called off immediately by the ref.
After lots of talking, the goal was reviewed. While the review was still happening, the Sharks challenged for goaltender interference. The play was deemed dead before the puck entered the net. The call was no goal, and the Sharks’ challenge never came into effect. The game ended with the Sharks getting back-to-back road victories, beating the Jets 4-3.
SJS – Brent Burns (21) (PPG) assisted by Logan Couture (17) and Joe Thornton (28)
WPG – Bryan Little (11) assisted by Josh Morrissey (8) and Dustin Byfuglien (24)
SJS – Logan Couture (16) assisted by Mikkel Boedker (9) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (13)
WPG – Andrew Copp (7) assisted by Blake Wheeler (25) and Dustin Byfuglien (25)
WPG – Bryan Little (12) assisted by Josh Morrissey (9) and Patrik Laine (17)
SJS – Melker Karlsson (6) (SHG) unassisted
SJS – Patrick Marleau (17) assisted by Ryan Carpenter (2) and Brenden Dillon (5)
THW Three Stars
First: Bryan Little (2 goals)
Second: Aaron Dell (30 saves, .912 save percentage)
Third: Josh Morrissey (2 assists)
Winnipeg Jets at Chicago Blackhawks
United Center – 7:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, Jan. 26
Broadcast Channels: TSN3
2016-17 Season Series: November 15 – Chicago (0) at Winnipeg (4)
December 27 – Winnipeg (3) at Chicago (1)
Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks
SAP Center – 7:30 p.m. PT on Thursday, Jan. 26
Broadcast Channels: CSN-CA
2016-17 Season Series: December 23 – Edmonton (2) at San Jose (3) (OT)
January 10 – San Jose (5) at Edmonton (2)
Judson Rempel was born and raised in the Great White North, skating on ponds and watching hockey every Saturday night in small town Manitoba. When he’s not watching hockey, he’s playing hockey with his son and daughter, and trying to convince his wife to let him watch more hockey.