SAN JOSE (AP) — Tobias Enstrom scored a power-play goal with 3:36 remaining in the third period to help the Winnipeg Jets deal a blow to San Jose’s chances to finish in first place by beating the Sharks 4-3 on Thursday night.
Blake Wheeler added a goal and two assists for the Jets, who trail Phoenix by nine points in the race for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien also scored, and Al Montoya made 27 saves.
Dan Boyle, Brent Burns and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks, who have lost four of the past six games. San Jose still holds a two-point lead over Anaheim in the Pacific Division but the Ducks have three games in hand. Antti Niemi made 27 saves for San Jose.
Couture scored the tying goal in the second period for San Jose but then committed the penalty that led to the game-winner late in the third when he shot the puck over the glass while trying to kill a penalty.
The Sharks managed to kill 11 seconds of the 5-on-3 but couldn’t kill the second penalty when Wheeler slid a pass to a pinching Enstrom, who beat Niemi for the game-winner.
The Jets took a 3-2 lead by scoring twice in the first 10 minutes of the second period. The equalizer came early when Wheeler skated into the offensive zone and fired a bad-angle shot at Niemi from along the goal line that somehow sneaked into the net.
Winnipeg took its first lead after Joe Thornton negated a San Jose power play with a tripping penalty. Just seconds after Paul Postma came out of the box to give the Jets a power play, Wheeler slid a perfect pass to Byfuglien, who beat his former Chicago teammate Niemi with a one-timer for his 20th goal.
The Sharks tied it later in the second when they capitalized on another power-play chance. James Sheppard’s slap shot deflected off Couture and into the net to give San Jose its fifth power-play goal in the past two games. Couture also got his 20th goal in his return to the lineup after missing with an injury from blocking a shot Monday in Calgary.
The Sharks opened the scoring less than 2 minutes into the game when Sheppard sent a pass from the point that deflected off Marty Havlat’s stick and right to Boyle, who beat Montoya with a backhand for his first goal in 30 games.
The Jets answered just 36 seconds later when Ladd put in a rebound of Michael Frolik’s shot for his 22nd goal. The goal came in Ladd’s first game back after missing Monday’s tilt in Dallas for the birth of his daughter.
San Jose went back in front late in the period on the power play when Burns finished a give-and-go with Joe Pavelski by shooting a backhand past Montoya for his 21st goal.
NOTES: Thornton became the 100th player to play in 1,200 career NHL games, joining teammate Patrick Marleau on the list. ... Former Sharks F Devin Setoguchi was a healthy scratch for the Jets. ... San Jose recalled F Freddie Hamilton from Worcester of the AHL to replace F Adam Burish, who had surgery on two broken fingers on his left hand.