Reimer shines, Sharks rally to ground Jets 3-2 in overtime
WINNIPEG — James Reimer couldn’t have picked a better time and place to put on a great goaltending performance.
The Manitoba-born San Jose Sharks netminder made 36 saves, and Logan Couture scored 1:21 into overtime, to snap the team’s five-game losing streak with a 3-2 upset victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
“You don’t get to the NHL by yourself,” said Reimer, who was born in the small town of Morweena. “You get there by so much love and support and encouragement, and even that practice time when you’re 12 years old on the outdoor (rink).
“So it’s special to play in front of your friends and family and it’s even more special when things go your way.”
Jets defenceman Nate Schmidt had made it 2-1 with 5:07 remaining in the third period, but Tomas Hertl tied it with 11 seconds left when the puck went off Winnipeg forward Blake Wheeler’s stick right to Hertl for his 17th goal of the season.
Couture went in alone on Jets netminder David Rittich and sent a backhand underneath him for the winning goal.
“Just kind of sucks what happens when we get a stick on that last one but it goes right to the spot,” Schmidt said of Hertl’s goal. “That’s sometimes the way the hockey bounces will go.
“I thought Dave did a really good job for us all night. For that to be one that tied it up you feel for him, because I thought the guys did a good job on the ice.”
Steven Lorentz also scored for the Sharks (19-33-12), Erik Karlsson contributed a pair of assists and Couture also had one helper.
San Jose finishes a back-to-back set Tuesday in Colorado against the Avalanche and are 1-4-1 in their past six games.
Nino Niederreiter also scored for the Jets (36-25-3) and Rittich made 21 saves.
Winnipeg was 0-for-6 on the power play and San Jose went 0-for-2.
Schmidt had scored from the side of the crease four seconds after Winnipeg’s sixth man advantage expired.
San Jose benefited from a Rittich bobble to score first.
After the puck bounced off the netminder onto the ice in front of him, he tried to smother it with his glove but it slid away. Lorentz quickly put it into the net with a backhand at 14:13 for his seventh goal of the season.
San Jose went on the power play early in the second, but it was Reimer who made a key save to avoid giving up a short-handed goal.
Jets forward Morgan Barron had a breakaway and fired a shot at Reimer, who stretched over and whipped out his glove to snag the puck.
Niederrieter tied it 1-1 when he spun around in the high slot and the puck flew by Reimer on the glove side at 6:05.
The Jets went on their fourth power play of the game with 1:39 left in the second, but Reimer foiled two quick shots as the buzzer sounded to end the period.
“He is a good goaltender,” Niederrieter said of Reimer, who was his former teammate with the Carolina Hurricanes.
“Tonight he was standing on his head. He made a lot of very crucial saves. It definitely could have gone a lot differently tonight, but in the end we lost the game and it’s on us.”
Reimer had stopped 27 shots after 40 minutes. Rittich made 13 saves in the same span.
Sharks coach David Quinn was happy for his veteran goalie, who turns 35 this month, and his cheering section.
“We’re going to bring them on the charter and wherever we go they’re going to go when he plays,” Quinn joked. “Reims has had a really good year for us.
"He was huge tonight, and it’s always nice to perform in front of family and friends, so I’m happy for him.”
EL NINO SIZZLING
Niederreiter, playing his fourth game with Winnipeg since being acquired from the Nashville Predators on Feb. 25 via trade, tallied his first goal with the Jets and 19th of the season.
The goal marked the 200th of his 792-game NHL career and extended his point streak to three games (one goal, two assists). He also hit the post early in the third.
Niederreiter is the first Swiss-born player in NHL history to score 200 goals.
Jets: Host the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.
Sharks: Travel to Colorado to play the Avalanche on Tuesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2023.
Judy Owen, The Canadian Press