The San Jose Sharks clinched a playoff spot for the 19th time in franchise history and celebrated a 5-4 overtime victory over the New York Rangers at SAP Center Tuesday.
There was only one goal in mind for the Sharks. They wanted to snap their six-game losing skid, especially after losing all four games in their recent road trip through the Central Division.
The Sharks opened the scoring to end their seven-game streak of allowing the first goal of the game. Tomas Hertl repeatedly whacked in a shot past Henrik Lundqvist until Jannik Hansen tapped it into the net for his first goal as a Shark and seventh of the season just 1:44 into the first period. Hansen took a slap shot off the leg and went off to the locker room, but later returned to the San Jose bench.
J.T. Miller picked up a pass from Matt Puempel and unleashed a top-shelf wrist shot past Martin Jones for his 21st goal of the season, tying the game 1-1 at 6:30.
The Sharks took a 2-1 lead after Melker Karlsson scored a short-handed goal for his 10th goal of the season with 1:59 left in the period.
Shots were 9-7 in favor of the Sharks, who held a 2-1 lead over the Rangers after 20 minutes.
Chris Tierney made it a 3-1 game with an unassisted goal for his eighth of the season, snapping a five-game goalless drought dating back to March 12 against the Dallas Stars.
The Rangers pulled within a goal late in the second period.
The officials made a questionable call that temporarily affected the Sharks. Patrick Marleau was called for interference despite allegedly just playing the puck with 1:31 left in the period. However, the San Jose penalty kill looked awful, and Mats Zuccarello sent a pass through Justin Braun that went to Derek Stepan, who scored on the power play for his 16th of the season 68 seconds later.
The Sharks outshot the Rangers 22-14 and held a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.
The Rangers staged a comeback in the third period. They tied the game 3-3 early in the third period. Jesper Fast redirected a Brady Skjei wrist shot through Jones’ legs for his sixth goal of the season 1:24 into the period. Miller then one-timed a shot from the faceoff circle on the 4-on-3 power play for his second goal of the game and 22nd of the season 3:20 later.
However, the Sharks evened the score 4-4 with 2:15 left in regulation as Hansen sent a pass to Tierney, who put the puck into the net for his second of the game and ninth of the season.
After a 4-4 deadlock through 60 minutes, these two teams clinched a playoff spot.
The Sharks (43-26-7) avoided their first seven-game losing skid since December 26, 1995, to January 10, 1996, with a 5-4 win over the Rangers (46-27-4) in overtime.
Nick Holden was called for holding the stick at 2:35 of overtime. The Sharks went on the power play, and Brent Burns scored the game-winning goal — his 28th of the season — at 3:10 of overtime. Jones finished with 24 saves for San Jose.
Lundqvist made 30 saves in a losing effort for New York.
Scratched: Dylan DeMelo, Marcus Sorensen
Injured: Logan Couture (face)
Suspended: Michael Haley
Sharks clinched a playoff berth with the Los Angeles Kings’ 2-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in regulation.
Sharks recalled Kevin Labanc from the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.
Couture celebrated his 28th birthday.
The Sharks begin a three-game Canadian road trip Thursday against the Oilers (42-25-9) at 7:00 p.m. MDT on CSN-CA and SNW.