CALGARY –- The Sharks had a 99.9 percent chance of making the postseason headed into Monday’s game in Calgary, according to SportsClubStats.com.
Perhaps that’s part of the reason why they continued a recent trend of lacking energy against a lesser opponent. All of them except for one, that is.
Outshot 48-23 against the last place Flames, the Sharks managed to secure two points in overtime by a 2-1 final because goalie Martin Jones put forth perhaps his best effort of the season. The 25-year-old allowed only a redirection by Joe Colborne late in the third period to get by him, with the Flames on their seventh power play of the night.
“He was awesome. He was fantastic,” Pete DeBoer said of Jones.
Those seven power plays against was just as concerning a number as the shot discrepancy, after the Sharks were shorthanded seven times in their most recent game, too, a 4-2 loss to Vancouver on Saturday in which they surrendered three power play goals.
This time the penalties and lackadaisical stretches didn’t cost them, thanks to Jones.
“We’ll take it,” said Joe Pavelski, who netted the game-winning goal just 19 seconds into overtime. “I think the emphasis from last game was PK. We’ve got to do a lot better job on it. We reset a couple things on it, and clarified a few things that we want. The PK was awesome, and our best penalty killer tonight was definitely Jonesy.”
Brent Burns staked the Sharks a 1-0 lead just 1:56 into the game, and then the parade to the box began. San Jose killed off three Flames advantages in each of the first two periods, before they finally cashed in at 18:38 of the third after Brenden Dillon’s delay of game minor.
DeBoer said: “I thought we started OK, then obviously the penalties totally took us out of the game. If not for [Jones], we don’t get points tonight.”
“It’s a concern. We don’t want to be killing a lot,” Burns said. “Tonight, obviously we know we’re better than what we played. If we’re killing a lot of penalties, it’s hard. It takes a lot of the flow out of the game.”
After a rare night off on Saturday in favor of new backup James Reimer, Jones looked rejuvenated and as calm as ever. He made a few nice stops on Sean Monahan and Dougie Hamilton in the first period, and denied flashy forward Johnny Gaudreau on several occasions in the second and third, including a diving save with 2:19 left in regulation just after Dillon had stepped in the box.
Most of his saves looked routine, but that’s probably because Jones seemed to be tracking the puck well from the opening faceoff. And he was seeing plenty of rubber.
“I felt good. I thought our penalty kill was huge tonight,” said Jones, who improved to 16-1-2 in his career when making at least 30 saves, and 20-4-4 when facing at least 30 shots.
In overtime, though, Jones could have taken a brief nap. The Sharks’ goal was a thing of beauty, as Joe Thornton brought it into the zone, made a nifty backhanded pass to a charging Burns, and Burns danced around his man before finding Pavelski in front of the net. The Flames never touched it.
It was Pavelski’s 30th goal of the season, and his league-leading ninth game-winner.
“Burnzie has some good speed and I kind of saw he was getting by his guy, so I was hoping he saw me out in front,” Pavelski said.
After what Jones did for the first 60 minutes, he deserved the overtime marker more than anyone.
“It’s nice when they don’t touch the puck [in OT],” Jones said. “That was great.”
So was he.