Preview: Jets at Sharks
Patrick Marleau returned to San Jose after two seasons in Toronto, and the 40-year-old forward sparked the Sharks to their ninth victory in 10 games entering Wednesday’s home contest against the Winnipeg Jets with a game-winning goal in overtime Monday at Los Angeles. Marleau’s fifth goal of the season and 556th of his career saved San Jose after the Sharks blew a 3-0 lead in regulation, and gave the 22-year veteran his 99th career game-winning goal in a Sharks uniform.
“Any game-winner is special,” Marleau told reporters postgame after snapping a five-game point drought. “You know these guys were battling. These are the points that we need to keep moving up.” San Jose isn’t the only team playing well of late as the Jets are 8-2-1 in their past 11 games after Saturday’s 4-3 home victory over Columbus, as center Andrew Copp netted the game-winning goal with 1:54 to play. Winnipeg lost defensemen Josh Morrissey (lower body) and Nathan Beaulieu (upper body) to injuries Saturday and finished the game with just four defensemen, but Morrissey is expected to play Wednesday. “They played hard,” Jets coach Paul Maurice told the media afterward. “This group has played hard. Maybe not perfect, but hard.”
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TSN3 (Winnipeg), NBCS California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE JETS (14-9-1): Captain Blake Wheeler recorded his 600th career point with the franchise Saturday after scoring once and setting up another, while fellow forward Nikolaj Ehlers netted his team-leading 11th goal. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck came in for the injured Laurent Brossoit with 11:19 to play and earned the win, and he ranks in the top 10 in the NHL in both save percentage (.928, tied for fifth) and goals against average (2.42, eighth). Winnipeg surrendered three power-play goals against Columbus and is 30th in the league in penalty kill percentage (72.2 percent).
ABOUT THE SHARKS (13-11-1): Forward Timo Meier scored twice against Los Angeles and has three goals in his past three games, while center Logan Couture leads San Jose with 25 points (tied for sixth in the NHL with 20 assists) and has 11 points (eight assists) during his current seven-game point streak. Goaltender Martin Jones stopped 33-of-36 shots Monday to improve to 8-1-0 in his past nine starts. The Sharks have held opponents to two goals on 35 power-play opportunities during their 10-game surge and lead the NHL on the season in penalty kill percentage (91.4 percent).
1. The Jets are an NHL-leading 11-1-1 in one-goal games this season.
2. Sharks C Tomas Hertl has missed three games in a row with a lower-body injury.
3. Wheeler and Ehlers scored as the Jets beat the Sharks 3-2 on Nov. 1 in San Jose.
PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Jets 3