Gabriel Vilardi broke a tie on a power play at 3:14 of the third period, Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves and the Winnipeg Jets beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Thursday night to extend their points streak to a franchise record 10 games.
“It’s fun,” Vilardi said. “It’s fun to play hockey. It’s fun when you win. Obviously anyone can say that, but we have belief in each other and play for each other. We’ve got to keep going.”
Morgan Barron scored the other goal for Winnipeg, which has won four in a row to improve to 24-9-4.
At the other end of the spectrum, the NHL-worst Sharks have lost 10 straight to fall to 9-27-3. The Sharks started the season with 11 consecutive losses.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to find ways to win,” Sharks centre Luke Kunin said.
“It’s frustrating right now. Guys are working, trying to get out of this, and the only way out is to just keep your head down and get to work, just learning from it.”
The Jets have allowed three or fewer goals in each of a franchise-record 27 straight games. Winnipeg leads the NHL with 33 such games this season.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game,” Jets defenceman Brenden Dillon said.
“Obviously, they’re desperate with the way the last nine games had gone for them. Happy to get out of here with a big win.”
Alexander Barabanov opened the scoring midway through the second period for San Jose, which hadn’t recorded a point since beating the Jets 2-1 on Dec. 12.
Winnipeg tied it 1:22 later when Barron redirected Neal Pionk’s shot past Mackenzie Blackwood.
Vilardi broke the tie early in the third on the power play, scoring his eighth goal of the season.
“That’s one of the best power plays I’ve seen us have all year,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said.
“The puck was moving around. I loved that power play tonight.”
Hellebuyck, named to his fourth all-star game earlier Thursday, improved to 19-6-3.
Blackwood stopped 28 shots in the loss.
Before the game, the Sharks announced that defenceman Matt Benning underwent hip surgery that is expected to sideline him for the rest of the season.
The 29-year-old had two assists in 14 games before sustaining the injury Dec. 3 against the New York Rangers.