Sharks blank Jets, 4-0

SAN JOSE – Logan Couture scored two goals Saturday night as the San Jose Sharks raced to a 4-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in front of 17,189 fans at SAP Center.

The win pushed San Jose to 7-6-1 in home games this season.

The Sharks, 5-2-1 away from SAP Center, begin a four-game road trip Tuesday evening in Philadelphia against the Flyers. San Jose plays the Florida Panthers Friday and Tampa Bay Saturday before taking on the Washington Capitals on Dec. 4. The next home game is opposite Carolina on Thursday Dec. 7.

By topping the Jets, the Sharks moved into fourth place in the crowded Pacific Division with 26 points. Idle Vancouver is fifth with 25 points. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights continue to pace the division with 31 points after defeating Arizona this evening.

Jets coach Paul Maurice started veteran Steve Mason between the pipes. After San Jose took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, Maurice opted for 24-year-old Connor Hellebuyck in net. Playing in his 100th NHL game, Hellebuyck made 20 saves over two periods.

San Jose goaltender Martin Jones made 38 saves while earning his 10th win of the season. Jones has two shut-outs this campaign and 17 for his career. The Jets were blanked for the first time in 23 games.

San Jose opened the scoring with a power play goal 11:30 into action.

Kevin Labanc, controlling the puck near the right point, whipped a pass to an unmarked Tim Heed between the circles. The rookie defenseman fired a shot past a screened Mason for a 1-0 advantage.

Joe Thornton assisted on Labanc’s goal, giving the forward a team-leading 11 helpers.

San Jose produced an even-strength goal in the closing seconds of the first period.

After the Jets were called for icing with 37.3 seconds left, the Sharks controlled the puck in the Winnipeg zone before Justin Braun’s long shot turned into a long rebound Couture converted with 15.4 seconds left.

After a power play and even-strength goal in the first 20 minutes, San Jose added a short-handed goal in the second period for a 3-0 cushion.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Tomas Hertl earned assists when Couture burst out of a scrum at the blueline to score on a breakaway against Hellebuyck. Couture had enough room advancing on the Jet goalie to deke left before guiding the puck inside the right post at 13:13 of the period, 11 seconds after the start of the Jets power play. Couture has 13 goals on the year, six better than runner-up Joe Pavelski.

San Jose capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 3:10 to play. Hertl scored his fifth goal of the year with assists from Pavelski and Brent Burns.

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