With the Sharks' best forward out of the lineup due to injury, their best defenseman stepped up in a huge way. With five seconds left in regulation, Marc-Edouard Vlasic snuck in from the point after an offensive-zone faceoff was won by the Sharks, took a pass from Logan Couture and rifled the puck short side to beat Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson and break a 2-2 deadlock.
All around, San Jose's second full game without Joe Thornton went a whole lot better than their first even if the star center's absence on the power play remained absolutely glaring. But an improved even-strength showing from Joe Pavelski, flanked on the first line by Couture in this one, along with an effective game by the remodeled third line was enough for the Sharks to get the better of Winnipeg five aside for much of the night.
Brent Burns scored the team's lone power play goal of the night on seven total chances, cashing on a Patrick Marleau backhand feed for a 5-on-3 marker that appeared to settle things down after his forward-turned-defenseman counterpart Dustin Byfuglien wreaked havoc for the Jets shorthanded. Andrew Ladd responded for Winnipeg on a power play one-timer of his own as the Jets were significantly better than the Sharks with the man-advantage tonight, cashing in on two of their three opportunities. Melker Karlsson scored the other San Jose goal, his second in as many games.
- Tomas Hertl was struck in the face with a puck on an errant clear by Couture, opening up a nasty gash above Hertl's upper lip that needed to be stitched up. It seems like he'll be fine but that was a scary scene.
- Speaking of Hertl, he was having one of his best games in a while before that incident. For whatever reason, some of his most effective nights protecting the puck down low and using his size to create chances for him and his linemates have come on James Sheppard's wing rather than Thornton's this season.
- It was always amusing when everyone from Sharks fans to Sharks management blamed Thornton for some of the power play's dry spells in prior seasons when he's forever been the primary reason San Jose's man-advantage is as frighteningly effective as it is. Over the past two games we've seen what a truly shitty power play actually looks like. Get well soon Jumbo.
- Patrick Marleau with six shots on goal tonight along with another three that missed the net. Nothing, goals-wise, to show for it. Dude just can't catch a break right now.
FTF Three Stars
1st Star: Marc-Edouard Vlasic
2nd Star: Joe Pavelski
3rd Star: Logan Couture