Havlat bags OT game-winner as Sharks keep pace in playoff chase

SAN JOSE– Marty Havlat’s second goal of the game 3:23 into overtime lifted the San Jose Sharks past the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 at sold-out HP Pavilion.

The OT win allowed the Sharks to move into eighth place in the Western Conference standings with 82 points with 11 games to play. Colorado slipped by the New York Rangers 2-1 to sit in seventh with 83 points.Los Angeles turned back the Nashville Predators 4-2 to join San Jose at 83 points, although San Jose has one more victory in regulation or overtime than the Kings.

The Sharks, after earning seven of a possible eight points in the past four games, play Anaheim on home ice Monday at 7pm before visiting the Kings Tuesday.

Detroit, owner of a three-game losing streak coming into Saturday’s showdown, forced the game into overtime when Valtteri Filppula whipped a 25-footer into the top left corner of the net with 8:12 gone in the third period.

San Jose out-shot the Red Wings 5-1 in the overtime session.

Dominic Moore ignited the decisive play when he deftly handled the puck deep into the slot against the Detroit defense. Havlat put a shot on net as defenseman Justin Braun was pushed into the goaltender byDetroit’s Justin Abdelkader. Havlat was able to secure the short rebound and lift the puck over the prone goaltender and defenseman Ian White at the edge of the crease for the game-winner.

“He’s a very dynamic, top-end forward,” captain Joe Thornton said of Havlat’s heroics. “He just looked fabulous out there.”

The Sharks came away from the first period with a 2-1 lead.

San Jose’s starting unit broke through for a 1-0 edge with 48 seconds gone. Extended control in the Detroit zone was continued for the Sharks when Dan Boyle kept the puck inside the blueline and dished it to Thornton at the endboards. Joe Pavelski was the recipient of a feed by Thornton. Pavelski took two whacks at the puck from 15 feet out, the second attempt flying past a screened goaltender Jimmy Howard.

After both teams successfully killed a power play, the Sharks moved to a 2-0 lead at the 18:23 mark.

Havlat, in his second game back after a 39-game absence for a leg injury, posted his third goal of the season. The winger received a head-man pass from Patrick Marleau in the neutral zone and skated into the Detroit zone with only defenseman Brad Stuart in the way. Halvat pulled up and whipped a shot past Stuart that skimmed off Howard’s shoulder and into the net.

“I shot through (Stuart’s) legs,” Havlat said. “(Howard) didn’t see much.”

That two-goal advantage was cut in half 23 seconds later. Pavel Datsyuk, out for the past 11 Red Wing games due to injury, flipped a shot from a tough angle in the left corner of the Sharks zone that dropped inside the crossbar behind goaltender Antti Niemi at 18:46.

   

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