Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
SAP CENTER — You didn’t need any “West Side Story” puns to describe the defensive rumble between the Sharks and Jets Thursday night.
Winnipeg’s first visit to the Tank since October of 2010 — when the franchise was still the Atlanta Thrashers — was a tight contest that stayed scoreless through two periods.
But the visitors’ efforts weren’t enough to stymie the point-scoring machine that is Joe Pavelski and shutout master Alex Stalock, as they led San Jose to another home victory, 1-0.
Head coach Todd McLellan was happy with the win, even though it was a close one:
“It was a tight game. I thought both teams played that way. Not many chances at either end, and when there were, both goaltenders played well. We were lucky enough that Pav batted one out of the air and we got away with the win… Great to see Alex get another shutout. We’re all excited for him.”
Back-to-back shutouts would make any goalkeep happy, but Stalock played the humble card, giving credit to the defense in front of him:
“Obviously it feels good to get a shutout, but…Put it on a team effort clearing away rebounds. That makes it a lot simpler.”
Following a game where they weren’t sent to the box once, the Sharks racked up two penalties in the opening frame alone. But a strong performance on the kill kept Winnipeg from getting the puck past Stalock (19 saves) in the opening frame.
Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31 blocked shots) and the Jets’ defense kept things tight in their zone as well, even keeping red-hot Pavelski from putting points on the board for the Sharks in the first stanza.
Intensity picked up on both sides of the puck in the second period and tempers flared on San Jose’s first power-play attempt of the evening when an obvious goal by Pavelski was denied by a holding call on Joe Thornton.
Team Teal peppered Pavelec with shots heading into the second intermission, climbing to 22 shots against Winnipeg’s 15, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
San Jose’s efforts finally paid off almost halfway through the third stanza. After Pavelec used his full body to block a shot by Justin Braun, Pavelski got his stick on the rebound and backhanded it past the goalie’s right side.
Braun recalled the goal:
“Pavelec kind of put [the puck] on my stick. Maybe I should have shot it right away, but it kind of worked out. (Smiles) A soft backhand pass and Pavs made a nice play and knocked it out of the air.”
Stalock came up big in the last few minutes of play to keep Winnipeg off the scoreboard, notching his second consecutive shutout.
The San Jose Sharks continue their homestand Saturday against the Minnesota Wild. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Alex Stalock now has a consecutive shutout streak of 140:59. He became the first Sharks goaltender to post shutouts in consecutive games since Antti Niemi did it from March 27-28 (against Anaheim and Detroit, respectively). In his last four starts, Stalock has posted a 4-0-0 record and a .968 SV%. … Joe Pavelski has 19 goals in his last 21 games. Tonight he scored his 28th goal of the season and now ranks 2nd in the NHL in goals (1st place, Alex Ovechkin, 35 goals). He also extended his point streak to four games and became the second player in Sharks history to score game-winning goals in three consecutive games [Credit: Elias Sports]. …The Sharks only allowed nine shots on goal during the last two periods.