After one of the most memorable nights of his career, Patrick Marleau scored the game-winning goal late in the third period as the Sharks downed the Jets at MTS Centre on Tuesday night, 4-3.
Following up on his four-goal game in Colorado on Monday, Marleau received a seam pass from Ryan Carpenter and had all kinds of room to whip through his 17th goal of the season, and fifth in the last two games.
The Sharks (31-16-2, 64 points) increased their season-long winning streak to six games, and took over first place in the Pacific Division.
The teams were tied at 2-2 to start the third, before the Jets took their first lead of the night shortly after that. A point slapper by Josh Morrissey was kicked to the slot by Aaron Dell, and Bryan Little swooped in. Little’s rebound attempt hit the cross bar, but tricked in off of Dell’s backside at the four-minute mark for his second of the evening.
Later, though, Melker Karlsson was awarded a shorthanded penalty shot after Jacob Trouba slashed him from behind. Karlsson went top corner through Ondrej Pavalec at 9:37.
The Sharks improved to 8-2-0 in their last 10 games, while Winnipeg lost for the fifth time in its last eight (2-5-1).
Each team traded scores in each of the first two periods.
Brent Burns got the Sharks on the board with a slapper on a five-on-three advantage, for his 21st of the season at 3:59. It was the defenseman’s sixth goal in the last nine games.
Winnipeg answered with a partial breakaway goal by Little, who slipped the puck underneath Dell at 8:02.
San Jose took another lead early in the second. The Jets were caught flat-footed in their own zone, and Mikkel Boedker found Logan Couture cutting to the net. Couture shoveled the pass into an open net 27 seconds after the faceoff.
Again, the Jets responded. A howitzer by Andrew Copp from the circle found the top near corner with 1:59 to go before the second intermission to make it 2-2.
Earlier in the day, the Sharks traded forward Tommy Wingels to the Ottawa Senators for forwards Buddy Robinson and Zack Stortini, and a seventh round pick in the 2017 draft. Robinson and Stortini were immediately assigned to the AHL Barracuda.
Burns’ goal was a rare power play goal on the road by the Sharks, as they finished 1-for-2. San Jose is 10-for-77 with a man advantage (12.9 percent) when skating as the visitor.
Winnipeg finished 0-for-2. The Sharks are 26-for-33 on the PK in their last 13 games (78.7 percent).
Karlsson’s penalty shot conversion was officially the Sharks’ third shorthanded goal of the year.
Making his eighth start of the season, and just his second against the Western Conference, Dell upped his season record to 6-2-0 with 31 saves.
Pavalec, making his fourth straight start since getting recalled from the AHL, took the loss with four goals allowed on 26 shots.
Wingels’ absence, as well as that of Joonas Donskoi, meant Carpenter drew back into the lineup and Barclay Goodrow made his season debut.
Donskoi left San Jose’s game in Denver on Monday with what looked to be an upper body injury after getting hammered by Andreas Martinsen in the first period. He has now missed four of the last seven games.
Winnipeg welcomed rookie Patrik Laine back into the lineup. The Calder Trophy candidate had missed the past eight games with a concussion.
In the final game before the All-Star break, the Sharks host the Oilers at SAP Center on Thursday. San Jose is 2-0 against what could be a budding rival, including a 3-2 overtime win at home on Dec. 23, and a 5-3 victory in their first-ever visit to Rogers Place on Jan. 10.