SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – After six straight losses, the San Jose Sharks were looking for any kind of win. A well-played game that featured a late comeback and dramatic winner only made them feel even better.
Brent Burns scored a power-play goal 3:10 into overtime and the Sharks snapped their longest skid in six years on the night they clinched a playoff berth, rallying past the New York Rangers 5-4 on Tuesday.
“I don’t know if it’s relief. It’s a good win,” captain Joe Pavelski said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to look and take a deep breath and reassess yourself. We kind of did that. We played a couple games on that six-game stretch where we weren’t good.”
Chris Tierney tied the game with his second goal with 2:15 to play in regulation after San Jose had blown a 3-1 lead. Jannik Hansen added his first goal since joining the Sharks, and Melker Karlsson scored short-handed.
San Jose’s postseason spot was secured midway through the game when Los Angeles lost at Edmonton. The Sharks remained tied for second place in the Pacific Division with the Oilers, two points behind Anaheim with six games to play.
“When you lose six straight, it’s obviously a relief when you win one,” said Martin Jones, who made 24 saves. “But win or lose, we played a lot better tonight. We did a lot of good things. We played fast. We got in on the forecheck a lot better and when you score four or five goals, that makes it a lot easier as well.”
The scuffling Rangers also wrapped up a playoff trip, their seventh in a row, by earning one point. New York lost for the fourth time in five games.
“We gave ourselves an opportunity to compete for the best trophy in sports,” captain Ryan McDonagh said. “We know that our game isn’t where it has to be for us to be successful in the playoffs – but we have some games here to fine tune things.”
The Sharks appeared headed to another defeat before Tierney tied it on a rebound.
Then, after Nick Holden was sent off for holding in overtime, the stage was set for Burns’ drive from the circle that ended his 16-game goal drought and gave him a career-high 28 goals on the season.
“Burnsie is a huge piece for us,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “It’s no secret that he’s dried up a little bit lately. His importance to us over the season and where we’re sitting right now can’t be understated. He works so hard at his game. He cares so much. Everybody was happy to see him get rewarded tonight.”
J.T. Miller scored his second goal early in the third period to put New York up 4-3. Derek Stepan and Jesper Fast scored less than two minutes apart bridging the second intermission to erase a 3-1 deficit.
Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves but lost his second straight start after missing seven games with a hip injury.
“I’m extremely disappointed right now,” Lundqvist said. “I’m glad we’re in, but I want to get the job done. I want the win. We found a way to lose this one at the end.”
San Jose finally got to play with a lead for the first time in two weeks when it struck first in the opening minutes. Hansen poked a loose puck in the crease past Lundqvist to give the Sharks their first lead at any point since beating Buffalo 4-1 on March 14.
The Rangers answered when Miller beat Jones from the faceoff circle for his 21st goal, and looked as though they could add onto that during a late power play.
But Karlsson put San Jose back ahead when he skated up ice on a 2-on-1, looked off a defender and beat Lundqvist to the stick side for his 10th goal.
Tierney’s goal midway through the second made it 3-1.
NOTES: The Sharks called up forward Kevin Labanc from the AHL to replace injured Logan Couture in the lineup. Couture was hit in the face by a puck Saturday in Nashville. … Sharks forward Micheal Haley served his one-game suspension for punching Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok. … Rangers D Kevin Klein sat out with a stiff back.
Rangers: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.
Sharks: At the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
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