The Sharks were four minutes away from a regulation win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday at SAP Center until Joel Farabee tied the game at 15:57 in the third period.
Then the Sharks were 30 seconds away from having to play a second straight shootout until Tomas Hertl scored at 4:29 in overtime to give the Sharks an impressive 3-2 win over the Flyers.
The Sharks had Wednesday off, while the Flyers were on the second night of a back-to-back after beating the Seattle Kraken in the Pacific Northwest. A loss under those circumstances would have been bad for San Jose.
But Hertl, with help from Erik Karlsson, saved the Sharks as they improved to 17-14-1 (35 points).
After 10 days off while the NHL paused due to the COVID-19 spikes around the league, the Sharks picked up two wins at home before embarking on an East Coast road trip that takes them to Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo and Philadelphia.
"It's a long time to sit around during the 10-day break or whatever we had," Sharks coach Bob Boughner told reporters after Thursday's win. "Losing a couple at home before you get a break, it's a long time to sit with that. So it was nice to get two wins here out of the gate, and we know we have a tough road trip. But we want to stay in this thing, we want to stay in this hunt and keep clawing at it and we're right there. It was a big week for us."
The Flyers led 1-0 after 20 minutes Thursday, but two quick goals by Logan Couture and Brent Burns gave the Sharks an early second-period lead. It looked as if goalie James Reimer and San Jose would make that hold up. But then Farabee beat Reimer late in the third, forcing the Sharks to have to win it in overtime.
Despite the late slip-up, Boughner was pleased with how the Sharks played Thursday night.
"I thought we played a complete 60 minutes," Boughner said. "No game is without mistakes. Both teams made them. But I thought we played to our game plan, to our mentality. We grinded it out. Would have been nice if we could have found a little puck luck earlier in the game, but we dug in, came from behind did a lot of good things."
The Sharks have New Year's Eve and New Years Day off before playing their first game of 2022 on Sunday against the Penguins. Boughner's team will need to fuel up on coffee because puck drop in Pittsburgh is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.