Martin Jones saved the Sharks by the slimmest of margins in Tuesday night’s shootout against the Los Angeles Kings. The goalie needed every inch of his left skate to deny Gabriel Vilardi a shootout-tying goal and secure a 4-3 victory for San Jose.
“He made a pretty good move and got me to bite, going the wrong way,” Jones told reporters in a postgame video conference. “At that point you’re just trying to make yourself big and I got a little bit lucky.”
Jones is a perfect 4-0 in shootouts this season, helping the Sharks (5-5-1) to eight of their 11 points so far. It continues a trend of clutch play by Jones in overtime and shootouts the past few seasons, as noted by statistician Darin Stephens.
The 31-year-old also is creeping up the franchise leaderboard when it comes to shootout victories and he has Sharks goalie coach Evgeni Nabokov in his sights.
After separating himself from Devan Dubnyk in training camp to get the opening night start, Jones has established a role as the team’s No. 1 goalie.
Jones has a 5-2-0 record despite a 3.70 GAA and .878 save percentage in his seven starts while Dubnyk is 0-3-1 with a 2.71 GAA and .917 save percentage in four starts, including a loss in Saturday’s shootout against the Anaheim Ducks.
The overall numbers might be a bit ugly for Jones right now, but he has been able to show up when the Sharks need it most. With a compacted schedule and intradivision-only regular season, each point will be vital when it comes to jockeying for a playoff spot. Despite the marathon road trip that’s one game away from completion, the Sharks find themselves two points out of a tie for fourth place in the West entering Wednesday.