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Takeaways: Sharks’ Martin Jones is playing his best hockey of the season

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Apparently, leapfrog is a game that adults can play, as well.
The Sharks continued their game of tag with the Calgary Flames on Monday, moving back into first place in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference by extending their winning streak to five games in Minnesota.
The Flames jumped back into first place on Sunday by beating the Vegas Golden Knights one day after the Sharks took the penthouse suite with a win over the St. Louis Blues. Both squads are desperate to grab the conference’s top seed to avoid a first-round showdown with Vegas, who’ve all but locked up third place in the division.
As the Sharks regained the upper hand, Timo Meier earned his 100th career point, recording an assist on a pretty give-and-go play with Tomas Hertl. The winning streak is particularly impressive considering that the Sharks are 5-0 without Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane.
Here’s what we learned in the Sharks 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wild:
1. Martin Jones is playing his best hockey of the season.
If the playoffs started today, the Sharks would square off with the Wild in the opening round. That would probably be A-OK with the Sharks No. 1 goalie.
Jones picked up his third shutout of the season on Monday, making 24 saves to lead the Sharks to victory. Coincidentally, his first shutout also came in Minnesota back on Dec. 18 at a time when he was struggling to keep the Swiss cheese out of the blue paint.
Now, as the games grow increasingly more important, Jones is playing his best hockey of the season, shoring up the Sharks top area of concern heading toward the playoffs.
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Jones played a particularly important role in the opening frame, making 11 saves, including a stop on Eric Fehr’s open look in the middle of the period, where he dove across the crease to get a piece of the puck. His performance allowed the Sharks to stay in a scoreless tie as they struggled to shake off the jet-lag of traveling to the central time zone on daylight savings day.
“I didn’t like our first period. I thought they came out and really pushed off the bat,” head coach Pete DeBoer said. “He made some saves early that allowed us to get out of that first period, and then I thought we started to play and find our game.”
Jones’ shutout pushed his save percentage above .900 for the first time since Jan. 15. The Sharks netminder has posted a .934 save percentage in his five starts in March and a .913 mark since the all-star break.
More importantly, he’s surrendered two or fewer goals in 10 of his last 15 starts. Why is that important? The Sharks are 30-0 this season when coughing up two or less.
“He’s been real good,” DeBoer said. “He’s found ways to win us games. I don’t care what the numbers say, the save percentage or whatever that number is. The only numbers that matter to us are wins.”
2. The fourth line is giving DeBoer what he wants from it.
The impact of the Sharks fourth line was glaringly obvious on Monday.
Barclay Goodrow broke a scoreless tie at 14:06 of the second period when he went to the net, redirecting a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot from the left point with his upper thigh. It’s the type of blue collar goal that coaches expect from their fourth lines.

Now that's a good(row) deflection 
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