SAN JOSE –- It’s official, the Sharks will start the playoffs on the road in either Anaheim or Los Angeles next week.
Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien broke a third period tie on a goal with just 9.9 seconds left on the clock when his shot deflected in off of Brent Burns’ stick, to give Winnipeg a 5-4 victory at SAP Center on Thursday in stunning fashion.
San Jose, at 45-30-6 and 96 points, cannot catch either the Kings or Ducks. Los Angeles, which beat Anaheim at home on Thursday, is in the drivers seat to win the Pacific Division with 101 points. Anaheim, now the Sharks' more likely opponent in the first round, has 99 points.
The Sharks surrendered a 3-1 second period lead, when Winnipeg scored a pair of quick goals before the intermission.
Byfuglien skated around the net and pushed it to Andrew Copp, who slipped it through Martin Jones at 17:59. A little more than a minute later, Blake Wheeler blitzed past Marleau in the offensive zone and curled it over the line at 19:01 to make it a 3-3 score.
The Jets seemingly took the lead three-and-a-half minutes into the third period, when Mark Scheifele stripped Brenden Dillon and cut to the net. The puck went in off of the Jets forward’s skate, but after a video review it was determined that Scheifele kicked it in.
That allowed San Jose to take the lead back at 4-3, when Patrick Marleau directed a shot towards the net that nicked Byfuglien’s skate and Scheifele’s rear end before fluttering over the Ondrej Pavalec’s shoulder at 7:03.
Scheifele got his third period goal, though -– and second of the night -– converting the rebound of a Nikolaj Ehlers blast on a Winnipeg power play at 12:02. The score remained knotted at 4-4 until Byfuglien's late heroics.
San Jose fell to 17-20-3 at home, and 1-8-1 in the first game back at SAP Center after a road trip.
The Sharks led 1-0 after the first on Joe Pavelski’s 37th goal before the teams combined for five scores in the middle frame.
Winnipeg tied it on a second power play. Scheifele banked a puck off of Roman Polak’s skate at 9:03 to make it 1-1.
San Jose scored a pair of goals after that to open up two-goal edge. Joe Thornton was left alone in the circle on a Sharks power play, received a pass from Marleau, and whipped in his 19th goal at 11:42.
Marleau, who has three goals in his last two games, reached the 25-goal plateau for the 11th time in his career.
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Paul Martin tallied another on the power play, winding up and blasting a shot through traffic after an offensive zone faceoff win by Joel Ward less than four minutes later.
Wheeler increased his point-streak to 10 games, with seven goals and seven assists over that span. Byfuglien had three assists to go with his goal in what was Winnipeg's third straight win.
San Jose and Winnipeg split the first two games of the season series, both in January, with each team winning in the other’s building.
San Jose scored two power play goals on four opportunities, and is 6-for-20 over its last six games (30.0 percent).
Winnipeg, which began the night with the NHL’s lowest-ranked power play, was 2-for-4. San Jose had been 11-for-11 on the PK over its previous four games.
James Reimer started both games on the Sharks’ road trip earlier in the week, so Jones was playing for the first time since last Thursday. He allowed five goals on 26 shots, falling to 36-23-4.
Pavalec allowed four goals on 25 shots, improving to 12-13-4 on the season.
Chris Tierney returned to the lineup after a one-game absence with an undisclosed injury. Dainius Zubrus sat for maintenance reasons, so the Sharks’ started a fourth line of Tierney between Micheal Haley and Tommy Wingels.
Pavelski has 11 points (5g, 6a) in his last 11 games.
The Sharks host the Coyotes in the final game of the regular season on Saturday. San Jose is 3-1-0 against Arizona this season.