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Quick Bite: Sharks clinch playoff berth, end long losing streak

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The Sharks had blown a 3-1 lead, but came back late in regulation to tie it and Brent Burns won the game in overtime.

NHL: New York Rangers at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks (43-26-7) finally snapped their losing streak, stopping it at six games, with a 5-4 overtime victory over the New York Rangers (46-26-5).

The Sharks had been struggling offensively lately, but they struck early against Henrik Lundqvist with a goal just 1:44 into the game, when Jannik Hansen finished a mad scrum in front of the Rangers’ net for his first goal as a member of the Sharks.

Mid-way through the first period, Martin Jones made a terrific save on a Derek Stepan breakaway to maintain the one-goal lead for the Sharks. Unfortunately, J.T. Miller tied the game at 1-1 with 6:30 remaining in the first period on an absolute bullet on Jones’ short-side.

Just 25 seconds after the Miller goal, the Sharks drew a penalty to receive the game’s first power play opportunity. The Sharks had multiple scoring opportunities on the man-advantage, but the highlight of the two-minute stretch was a breakaway chance for Michael Grabner, but Jones was able to turn his shot aside as the Sharks’ power play ended. Shortly after New York killed off the penalty, Tomas Hertl was called for a tripping penalty, as the Rangers received their first power play.

Toward the end of the Rangers’ power play, the Sharks had a breakaway chance, similar to Grabner’s chance. Unlike Grabner, Melker Karlsson was able to capitalize on the shorthanded opportunity and got the puck past Lundqvist, as the Sharks re-took the lead, 2-1, with 1:59 left in the frame.

San Jose was able to kill off the remainder of the penalty, and the Sharks took a 2-1 lead into the locker room after the first 20 minutes.

The Sharks had a terrific chance to take a 3-1 lead mid-way through the middle frame when Joe Thornton found Joe Pavelski on the other side of the ice, but Pavelski’s shot hit off the crossbar behind Lundqvist.

With 8:22 left in the period, Chris Tierney attempted to get a shot on net, but had it blocked by a Rangers’ defenseman. However, the puck ricocheted to a spot that left Lundqvist exposed, and Tierney was able to corral the rebound and shoot it into the back of the net to push the lead to 3-1.

A few minutes after the goal, Patrick Marleau picked up an interference penalty to put the Rangers back on the power play for the second time in the game. With 22.4 seconds left in the period Stepan got the puck past Jones to cut the lead back to 3-2 in favor of San Jose.

The late goal for the Rangers slightly dampened the mood on one of the better periods the Sharks had played in the past two weeks, but either way the Sharks had a goal advantage entering the third period, which is nothing you can complain about.

Just 1:24 into the third period, the Rangers evened the score at 3-3 with a Jesper Fast redirected shot that beat Jones and went into the back of the net. Following the goal, a pair of offsetting penalties were assessed to both teams. 35 seconds later, the Sharks picked up another penalty, giving the Rangers a 4-on-3 power play.

The Rangers cashed in on the power play, with Miller picking up his second goal of the game, as they took a 4-3 lead with 15:16 left in the third period.

With 3:32 remaining there was a large pileup in front of the New York net, and the puck ended up getting by Lundqvist, but the whistle blew just before the puck went by the goaltender.

With 2:15 remaining, Tierney scored his second goal of the night to tie the game. He stayed to the right side of Lundqvist and when the puck landed on his stick, he lofted the puck above the goaltender’s sliding pad.

The Sharks were gifted a power play with 2:25 left in the overtime period when a Rangers player held Marleau’s stick to prevent the Sharks from getting out on a 2-on-1 breakaway.

Brent Burns received a perfect drop-off pass by the face-off circle to the right of Lundqvist and he rifled the puck past the New York goalie to send the Sharks fans home happy.

Notes

  • With the Oilers’ 2-1 victory over the Kings tonight, the Sharks clinched a spot in the playoffs for the 19th time in franchise history.
  • The Sharks improved to 6-6 in overtime contests that ended in the five-minute overtime session.

Fear the Fin Three Stars

  1. Chris Tierney
  2. J.T. Miller
  3. Brent Burns