In a season that seems to keep getting more impressive by the game, the Winnipeg Jets set a new franchise record Thursday night by earning a point in a tenth game in a row, reaching that mark with a hard-earned 2-1 win over the NHL-worst Sharks in San Jose.
The first period got off to a slow start with ten stoppages in the first 4:33 but then the Jets went to work, dominating long stretches of play without being able to beat Mackenzie Blackwood.
With just over six minutes to go in the first, Winnipeg held a 9-2 edge in shots on goal and a 21-6 advantage in shot attempts, but San Jose started to tilt the ice in their favour to close the frame, spending stretches of time in the Jets end before the horn sounded.
The Jets took a 10-6 edge in shots on goal into the second period but the Sharks continued to close that gap, hitting a couple of posts and drawing even on the shot clock before earning the game’s first power play after almost seven minutes of uninterrupted play.
The Sharks couldn’t convert on the power play but just seven seconds after Josh Morrissey stepped out of the penalty box, San Jose opened the scoring off the rush.
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William Eklund carried the puck into the Winnipeg end towards the corner before sliding a pass to the faceoff dot where Alexander Barabanov was waiting to wire one through Connor Hellebuyck, making it 1-0 at the 10:26 mark.
The Jets didn’t take long to respond, drawing even just 82 seconds later thanks to their red hot fourth line.
After cycling the puck around the Sharks zone, Neal Pionk took a shot from the point that was stopped by Blackwood but Morgan Barron got a piece of the rebound with his stick and the puck rolled across the goal line. With his eighth goal of the season, Barron matches his career-high in goals that he set last season.
The Sharks wound up outshooting the Jets 10-7 in the second period as the game carried a similar tone to the Dec. 12 contest that San Jose won 2-1.
But an early power play in the third period gave Winnipeg a chance to change the narrative, and their slumping special teams came through in the clutch.
Gabriel Vilardi parked himself at the side of the crease and redirected a hard, pinpoint pass from Nikolaj Ehlers at the top of the opposite faceoff circle into the net to give Winnipeg a 2-1 lead just 3:14 into the final frame.
From there, the Jets did what they have done so well this season: protect a lead. Hellebuyck stood his ground, several players blocked shots and the clock hit zeros before San Jose could draw even.
Hellebuyck turned aside 27 shots on the day he was named to the NHL All-Star Game as Winnipeg has now gone 27 straight games without allowing more than three goals.
The ten-game point streak breaks a tie with the 2005-06 Thrashers who went 6-0-3 over a nine-game stretch, and while the Jets have now gone 8-0-2 since losing in regulation in San Jose last month, the Sharks have now lost ten straight games since beating Winnipeg.
The Jets will look to get another win Friday night in Anaheim. The puck drops just after 9 p.m. with pregame coverage on 680 CJOB starting at 7 p.m.