Credit the Sharks’ minor league affiliate with an assist in the team's 4-1 victory in Winnipeg on Tuesday night.
In his first game since a two-game conditioning stint last week, Alex Stalock played his best game of the season in net, while Chris Tierney – who also played a pair of games with the Barracuda last week – scored the opening goal and now has a three-game point streak.
San Jose has won three straight for the first time since sweeping a six-game road trip from Nov. 13 – 22. The Sharks reached the midway point of the regular season with a 21-18-2 mark for 44 points.
The end of the game brought some controversy.
With the Sharks ahead 2-1, Tyler Myers was handed a five-minute major for a retaliatory cross-check to Tommy Wingels’ head at 12:55 of the third period. Wingels hammered the Winnipeg defenseman just before absorbing the undisciplined blow in response.
The Jets, though, appeared to tie the game shorthanded. Stalock inexplicably came out to play an errant Brent Burns pass that deflected all the way back to the defensive zone, fell over, and Blake Wheeler slid in the loose puck. Wheeler, though, was called for tripping Stalock just before the apparent equalizer.
The Sharks capitalized on the ensuing two-man advantage on a one-timer by Joe Pavelski at 15:59, and Joel Ward’s late empty-netter capped the scoring.
The Sharks opened the scoring with their second shorthanded goal in three games.
It came courtesy of Tierney, who corralled an errant Dustin Byfuglien pass, skated the puck into the zone, cut to the slot and whipped a shot through to the back of the net at 15:18 of the first period.
Winnipeg responded while still on the power play, though. After Justin Braun couldn’t keep a puck in the offensive zone, the Jets charged ahead on a two-on-one. Drew Stafford fed the puck to Nikolaj Ehlers, who smacked a backhanded one-timer through Stalock at 15:41.
San Jose retook the lead late in the first. Tomas Hertl went hard to the net with the puck, and Joe Thornton managed to find the rebound for his second goal in as many nights at 19:13.
The Sharks had a great opportunity to increase their lead to start the second, as Adam Lowry’s cross-checking minor put them on the power play to start the middle frame. Another penalty to Mark Stuart for delay of game at 1:50 gave the Sharks a brief two-man advantage, but Connor Hellebuyck stoned Patrick Marleau on a one-timer to keep it a 2-1 score.
Immediately after that stop, Stalock refuted Lowry on a breakaway just after the Winnipeg forward stepped out of the penalty box.
Stalock was making his first start since Dec. 18 in Ottawa. He picked up his first win since Nov. 22 at Columbus, when the Sharks closed out their six-game road trip with a come-from-behind 5-3 victory.
The Sharks secured just their second win in nine games against Central Division teams (2-6-1). San Jose and Winnipeg have split the first two games of the season series, which concludes on April 7 at SAP Center.
The Sharks finished 1-for-6 on the power play.
The penalty kill surrendered one goal on three Jets chances. That unit has struggled lately, going just 15-for-24 in the last seven games (62.5 percent).
Stalock improved to 3-0-0 in his career against the Jets with 21 saves, and is 3-5-0 on the season.
Hellebuyck allowed three goals on 26 Sharks shots.
Braun and Wingels both played in the game after suffering injuries on Monday in Calgary. Wingels left the Flames game after the first period and did not returning after bashing heads with Joonas Donskoi, while Braun, who took a shot to the visor and was sporting a significant gash near his left eye, returned late in the Flames game and was apparently cleared to play on Tuesday after he was a reported game-time decision.
Burns increased his scoring streak to eight games, with six goals and six assists over that span. He had the secondary helper on Pavelski’s goal.
Former head coach Todd McLellan and the Edmonton Oilers will make their first visit to SAP Center on Thursday. It will be McLellan’s first appearance in San Jose since he and the Sharks parted ways after seven seasons. Edmonton won the first head-to-head matchup on Dec. 9 at Rexall Place, 4-3 in overtime.