ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Martin Jones and the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks are peaking as they head into the playoffs.
Jones made 24 saves to continue his hot streak and lead the Sharks to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Monday night.
Barclay Goodrow, Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks, who won their fifth straight.
“I felt good,” Jones said. “I thought we did great all night checking. Penalty kill was huge for us as well.”
Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves for the Wild.
For Jones, it was his third shutout and 34th win of the season. Twenty-five of those wins have come since the start of December, the best total in the league over that span. Jones is the first goaltender in San Jose history to post four consecutive 30-win seasons, and he’s the only goaltender in the league since 2015-16 to have four 30-win seasons. Over his last 22 starts, Jones has allowed two or fewer goals 14 times.
“I think everybody kind of clamps down a little bit come playoff time,” Jones said. “We’ve won games in all sorts of different ways this year, so yeah, it’s nice to have that and build some confidence going into the playoffs.”
The Wild went 0 for 3 on the power play and were shut out for the seventh time this season. It was the second time Jones has shut them out. He also was in goal for a 4-0 Sharks win on Dec. 18 in St. Paul.
“Our problem, quite frankly, is when we get the opportunity to score, we have to score,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “In the first period, I thought we had two or three really good chances to score, and we didn’t take advantage.”
Goodrow gave the Sharks the lead at the 14:06 mark of the second period by deflecting Marc-Eduoard Vlasic’s shot from the point past Dubnyk. It was Goodrow’s first goal in 35 games. His previous goal came Dec. 16 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I think we’re playing hard,” Goodrow said. “We’re getting in on the forecheck, playing a hard style which I think you need on any fourth line.”
Hertl made it 2-0 at 4:37 of the third period with his 31st of the season and his third in four games.
Couture scored on a penalty shot midway through the third. It was his second career goal on a penalty shot. The first came Feb. 18 against the Boston Bruins.
“I didn’t like our first period,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “I thought they came out and really pushed right off the bat. I thought they controlled a lot of the first period. We were stuck in our own end. They had some good looks, and (Jones) made some saves early to allow us to get out of that first period. Then I thought we started to play and find our game a little bit.”
After Couture converted the penalty shot, the Wild tried to challenge, arguing that Couture was offsides in the leadup to the penalty. But after conferring with replay officials, the on-ice officials ruled that the play could not be challenged.
“It should’ve been offsides to begin with. It shouldn’t have even gotten that far,” Wild center Eric Fehr said. “I guess once they score the goal, they can’t review it, but it never should have gotten that far.”
Minnesota has won only one of its last nine home games. Monday was the opener of a season-long five-game homestand for the Wild.
“It’s obviously not the start we wanted,” defenseman Anthony Bitetto said. “But, you know what, we have a handful of games coming up in our building, and we’ve got to turn it around if we want to make the playoffs and have some good swag going into the playoffs.”
The Sharks are 14-3-1 in their last 18 games. … Timo Meier assisted on Hertl’s goal for his 100th NHL point. … Minnesota saw its season-best eight-game point streak (6-0-2) end in Friday’s 6-2 loss at Florida. … Wild center Victor Rask returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a lower-body injury.
Sharks: At Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Wild: Host Dallas on Thursday.
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