SAN JOSE, Calif. – Justin Braun’s soft shot made it on net and the rebound floated in the air long enough for Joe Pavelski to bat it in for yet another goal.
That’s the way it’s been going for Pavelski and the San Jose Sharks of late.
Pavelski scored his 19th goal in the past 21 games and Alex Stalock made 20 saves in his second straight shutout to help San Jose beat Winnipeg 1-0 Thursday night, handing Paul Maurice his first loss in five games as coach of the Jets.
“I’ve been expecting to score for a while,” Pavelski said. “Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Pavelski snapped a scoreless tie with 13:12 remaining for his third straight game-winning goal. He moved into sole possession of second place in the NHL with 28 goals this season, including seven in the past four games.
“We hope it lasts for a long time,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “Right spot, right time, great hand-eye. … Very good hand-eye co-ordination to put it in.”
The Sharks used that goal and another strong performance from their backup goalie to win their fifth straight game.
Stalock, who got his first career shutout with 24 saves last Thursday in Florida, was just as stingy against the Jets and has allowed only four goals in winning his last four starts.
“Obviously, it feels good to get a shutout,” Stalock said. “I think in the last two games, maybe a total of 40 shots. You see that sometimes in one game, and it says a lot to spread that out among two games. You put it on a team effort, clearing away rebounds, and it makes it a lot simpler.”
Ondrej Pavelec made 31 saves for the Jets, who had won four straight since Maurice took over for Claude Noel. Winnipeg scored 16 goals in those four games but couldn’t break through against San Jose two nights after handing Anaheim its first home loss in regulation all season.
Winnipeg managed only nine shots on goal in the final two periods Thursday but kept San Jose’s chances to a minimum to stay in the game.
“I like a lot of what I saw defensively,” Maurice said. “It’s what we are trying to do. Our offence needs to improve. I like this group; they are still young and have potential. These guys are willing and they listen.”
The winning goal was set up when Olli Jokinen made a poor clearing attempt out of the defensive zone for Winnipeg. Braun kept the puck in at the blue line and put a backhand on goal. Pavelski batted the rebound out of the air and into the net.
“They got the bounce and we didn’t,” Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba said. “(Pavelec) certainly did a great job to keep us in it. We can take a lot of positives out of this game.”
The game was scoreless after two periods as both teams played tight defence and allowed few prime scoring chances or rebounds on the 37 combined shots.
The Sharks had to kill penalties in the first period and needed a sprawling pad save from Stalock against Andrew Ladd on an odd-man rush late in the first period to keep it scoreless.
San Jose appeared to get the first goal late in the second after it got a power play when Jokinen took down Joe Thornton in front of the net. Pavelski won the faceoff and then got into position to knock a rebound into an open net, but the goal was waved off because Thornton fell into Pavelec after being hit by Mark Stuart.
It was the second time this season the Sharks were hurt by a disallowed goal against the Jets. On Nov. 10 in Winnipeg, Patrick Marleau’s apparent overtime winner was disallowed because Tommy Wingels made contact with Pavelec in the crease. The Jets won that game 5-4 in a shootout.
The Jets killed off the rest of the penalty and got another chance on the power play when Mike Brown was called for charging against Trouba. Winnipeg took exception to the hard hit into the boards but could not capitalize on the man advantage.
NOTES: The Jets are just 7 for 76 on the power play on the road, second-worst in the NHL. … The Sharks hosted a team from Winnipeg for the first time since Dec. 7, 1995, when they beat the original Jets, who later moved to Phoenix, 5-3. … San Jose D Dan Boyle played his 400th game with the team.