Like the team playing in front of him Wednesday evening, Sharks goaltender Martin Jones didn’t have his best stuff in the second period of Game 3 of the Western Conference final against the Blues. Heck, a .875 save percentage overall isn’t exactly stellar.
But with his team down a goal heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation, No. 31 did a full 180-degree turn and became the reason San Jose was able to stay in the game and tie things up with less than two minutes left to play.
Jones’ ability to stay calm and collected made a huge difference for Team Teal.
“For him to keep his composure ... He came up with some huge saves to get it to overtime,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said after San Jose won 5-4.
DeBoer admitted he didn’t think that four-goal period for St. Louis was entirely Jones’ fault either.
“I felt bad for Jonesy,” he said. “I think two of their pucks went in off of Justin Braun in the second period. I don’t know when we’ve given up four goals in the second period, I can’t remember the last time. And you look at the goals and it was some seeing-eye stuff where it hit us and deflected in a perfect spot.”
The nature of the goals makes it even more impressive how Jones kept it together, stopping some grade-A chances from the surging Blues offense. His stop on David Perron in the third period -- which stopped Perron from registering a hat trick, no less -- visibly gave his team a boost.
Of course, when asked about his big third period in an interview with NBC’s Jeremy Roenick, Jones maintained that even-keel attitude Sharks fans have come to expect from him.
“Just wanted to give our guys a chance and then we did a great job there,” he said with a shrug. “It sucks giving up four and obviously giving up a two-goal lead. Just stick with it. We were down one goal, we were still in the game.”
Jones’ big stops set the foundation for Logan Couture to score the game-tying goal with 1:01 left on the game clock, en route to a heavily-debated overtime win for the Sharks. For Jones, at least, he did his part in giving the Sharks a chance to make it to overtime in the first place and help get them a two-games-to-one series lead.
Now, he and his team can’t let that second-period slump happen again.
“Pretty gutsy win, but we’ve got to play better, we know that,” Jones critiqued. “The second period, we had too many turnovers, too many lost battles. But we found a way to come back late in the third and I thought we played really well in overtime.”
“Anything can happen, especially in the playoffs,” Jones said. “We’ve seen that already in the first two rounds.”