Although exchanging blows all night, the visitors ultimately came out on top, sending Winnipeggers home early with 5-4 victory in the dying seconds.
The first period began in somewhat of an unorthodox fashion. San Jose defenceman Radim Simek was the cause of a major delay off the get-go, as he fell in a gruesome manner on his leg, while trying to take out Winnipeg’s Andrew Copp. Simek left the game and did not return, giving the Sharks just five defencemen to work with for the remainder of the night.
Although down a man, San Jose struck first, as Marc-Edouard Vlasic stayed with a loose puck in front of Connor Hellebuyck, jamming in his second goal of the season, just eight minutes into the game.
Winnipeg responded just 30 seconds later, as Andrew Copp redirected a Ben Chiarot point shot past Aaron Dell, much to the pleasure of the local crowd gathered at Bell MTS Place Tuesday. Before those applauding could even find a seat, the Jets struck again. Much like the first goal, a Bryan Little point shot from the half wall found its way into the Sharks’ net, this time off a San Jose shin pad. The goal came just 33 seconds after Copp’s strike.
With just four minutes remaining in the opening frame, San Jose found another marker, this time off the stick of trade deadline acquisition Gustav Nyquist. On a Tomas Hertl setup, Nyquist put the puck past Hellebuyck for the Sharks’ second of the game. The first period ended with the visitors up 12-10 in the shot department.
The middle stanza saw Winnipeg awarded with an early power play goal as Brent Burns watched Kyle Connor pot a backhand shot top shelf from the penalty box just 45 seconds into the frame. Ten minutes later, Nyquist collected his second of the game and 19thof the second, knotting the game up at threes through 40 minutes.
It took San Jose just two minutes of third period action to take back the lead. Joe Thornton picked up a loose puck behind the Jets’ net and found Marcus Sorenson, who restored the visitors’ advantage with 18 minutes to play. The Sharks remained in control until the four minute mark.
Tyler Myers took his time releasing a long-range point shot in which Mathieu Perreault redirected past Aaron Dell, tying the game up once again. Frantic back-and-forth action incurred for the remaining three-and-a-half minutes. With just seconds to play, a missed one-timer opportunity by Andrew Copp gave San Jose a two-on-one up ice. Timo Meier sauced the puck to Joe Pavelski over the desperate stick of Dmitry Kulikov. The Sharks’ captain calmly placed his 37thof the season into the yawning cage, handing San Jose their sixth-straight victory with 4.3 seconds left.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 31 of 36 shots in the loss, while backup netminder Aaron Dell turned aside 21 of 25 pucks he faced.
Next up for Winnipeg is the Boston Bruins, who roll into town on Thursday for game two of the Jets’ three-game homestand. The Calgary Flames then visit Bell MTS Place on Saturday. Puck drop on Thursday is set for 7:00 PM central, and the game can be viewed live on TSN3.