SAN JOSE – There was only one goal in the Sharks’ 1-0 win over Winnipeg on Thursday night, and it came from the most predictable source.
Joe Pavelski, the NHL’s hottest goal-scorer for the past several weeks, whacked a loose puck out of the air with the back of his stick blade at 6:48 of the third period in helping the Sharks to their fifth straight win. After Olli Jokinen failed to get the puck out of the Jets’ defensive zone, Ondrej Pavalec couldn’t corral Justin Braun’s floater, leading to the score.
Pavelski has 28 goals for the season, surpassing Corey Perry for second in the NHL. It was his seventh goal in the last four games, and 15th in the last 16.
Alex Stalock, rarely tested, recorded his second consecutive shutout. The 26-year-old has not allowed a goal in more than 140 minutes, including a blanking of the Florida Panthers on Jan. 16. He finished with 20 saves.
San Jose moved eight points ahead of the Kings for second place in the Pacific Division, but remain nine behind the Anaheim Ducks.
The Sharks appeared to take the lead just five seconds into their first power play. Pavelski found the rebound of a Patrick Marleau shot and slid it into an open net, but the referee deemed that Joe Thornton did not allow Pavalec to make the save. Thornton and defenseman Mark Stuart were battling in front when Thornton toppled onto Pavalec’s left pad with less than six minutes left in the second period.
Stlaock made just his second career start in front of the home crowd. His best saves came late in the first period, including a right pad stop moving across the crease on Andrew Ladd with 1:20 to go before the intermission.
The pace slowed dramatically for most of the second, thanks to an abundance of whistles early. There was a bit more physical play, though, as Keaton Ellerby hammered Eriah Hayes along the boards after a late whistle, and Mike Brown was called for charging Jacob Trouba at 16:33.
Winnipeg, which had been a perfect 4-0 since replacing head coach Claude Noel with Paul Maurice, had its winning streak snapped. The Jets had given the Ducks their first regulation loss at home on Tuesday.
The game marked the first time the Winnipeg Jets, who relocated from Atlanta in the summer of 2011, played in San Jose since Oct. 16, 1995. The Jets won the only other meeting between the two teams, 5-4 in a shootout on Nov. 10 at MTS Centre.
Each team was 0-for-3 in six minutes of power play time.
Stalock improved to 7-2-0, including 7-1 as a starter. It was his first career appearance against Winnipeg.
Pavalec’s four-game winning streak was snapped. He’s 1-2-0 in his career against San Jose due to the hard luck loss, after stopping 31 of 32 Sharks shots. He appeared shaken up early in the third after taking a Brent Burns shot, but stayed in the game after some medical attention.
Mike Brown returned from a stiff neck suffered Jan. 14 at Washington. James Sheppard came out of the lineup.
Recent AHL recall Taylor Doherty did not play, and Marty Havlat remained a healthy scratch.
The Sharks continue their homestand Minnesota on Saturday, and the Kings on Monday, Jan. 27. The Sharks have eight games remaining before the Olympic break, six of which are at home."