SAN JOSE, Calif. – The slumping San Jose Sharks outplayed the Winnipeg Jets anyplace but in goal.Connor Hellebuyck made 51 saves to hold off a ferocious San Jose assault and Nikolaj Ehlers scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:24 left to send the Jets to a 3-2 victory over the Sharks on Friday night. “There was a stretch where I had been praying just a little bit but the guys were good about letting me view things and we believed three, so I did my job,” said Hellebuyck, who had the most saves in a game for the Jets because the team moved to Winnipeg in 2011-12. “This is the end result of the pucks moving my way. “Blake Wheeler and Gabriel Bourque also scored for the Jets, but Hellebuyck was the biggest superstar with Winnipeg spending a lot of the game hemmed into its own zone. “They punched out themselves,” Wheeler said. “In the third phase, we did a lot of standing and watching them take it. And I suppose that takes a toll on a team after a while. “Tomas Hertl and Barclay Goodrow scored for the Sharks, who dropped their fourth straight game. Martin Jones made 16 saves. “This one stings, but I thought we played pretty good,” Sharks captain Logan Couture said.After getting outscored 14-4 in losing the last three matches of a road trip, Sharks coach Peter DeBoer called his team”soft” before the game.They responded with perhaps their very best game of the year, but it was not enough thanks to Hellebuyck and the late target from Ehlers. “I don’t think there’s a worse phrase you can be called,” DeBoer said. “But that is the reality of this. We’ve got turned in the right direction. We had the appropriate quantity of grit and battle and fight . We have got to continue to get that.”
If they had an excess skater on the ice due to a delayed punishment, the Sharks scored the 48 minutes into the third stage. Kevin Labanc got the puck to Evander Kane, who sent a shot which Hertl redirected past Hellebuyck. However they couldn’t catch another one past Hellebuyck and dropped it at the end.Jack Roslovic setup Ehlers following the Sharks turned the puck over in their own zone, and he beat Jones with a one-timer for its improbable game-winner. “We let them hang around and those one or two mistakes you make return to haunt you,” Sharks forward Evander Kane said. “That’s what happened tonight. “There has been a significant momentum turn midway through the second phase. The Sharks appeared to take a 2-1 lead when Kane played with the puck from behind the net. It bounced around and Kane ended up with it, knocking it into the delight of the crowd.But Jets coach Paul Maurice challenged the play for goaltender interference, and the aim was wiped off since Kevin Labanc struck Hellebuyck’s pad with his stick before Kane scored.Making matters worse for the Sharks was the simple fact that the Jets scored at the opposite end 31 moments later, when Mark Scheifele discovered Wheeler alone in transition.The Sharks put heavy pressure the remainder of the period but couldn’t score even on a power play when Wheeler was hampered for a lot of the time with a broken stick.San Jose needed a 28-9 edge in shots in the second but could only manage one goal early in the period when Goodrow finished a quick transition play started by Marc-Edouard Vlasic by scoring his fourth objective of the season. The scoring started in the first following a turnover near the boards by Brent Burns. Kyle Connor got the puck to Bourque in the slot, who beat Jones for his first aim of the season.NOTES: San Jose’s 28 shots in the second period were just one shy of the franchise record for any period of 29 in the third period against Florida on March 18, 2014.
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