SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Center Nicklas Backstrom's goal in the shootout gave the visiting Washington Capitals a 3-2 win over San Jose and delayed the Sharks from clinching their 10th straight Stanley Cup playoff berth for at least one night.
The point earned enabled the Sharks to take a three-point lead over idle Anaheim in the Pacific Division and pull within three of the Boston Bruins for the race for the President's Trophy.
Washington, which had the only five shots in overtime, extended its point streak to five games (4-0-1).
San Jose center James Sheppard scored his third goal of the season on a breakaway at 5:07 of the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Left winger Jason Chimera's whirling attempt from the boards struck Sheppard in the skates, and he raced in alone before beating Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby with a backhand shot between the pads on the Sharks' first shot of the period.
But the Capitals scored their second goal off of a Sharks' defender to tie it at 2 at 12:30. Right winger Tom Wilson separated defenseman Scott Hannan from the puck behind the goal and left winger Dustin Penner passed out front to center Chris Brown, whose first NHL goal caromed off defenseman Dan Boyle and past goalie Antti Niemi.
San Jose outshot Washington 16-6 during a scoreless second period in which it dictated play, but couldn't take advantage.
The Sharks scored with 5.6 seconds left in the first period to escape with a 1-1 tie. San Jose right winger Matt Nieto intercepted a pass by defenseman Mike Green intended for defense partner Jack Hillen behind the Capitals net before centering to left winger Patrick Marleau. The veteran scored his 30th goal in close past Holtby.
A miscue by the San Jose defense earlier in the period allowed the visitors to score first.
Defenseman Justin Braun turned the puck over behind the Sharks' net, allowing the Capitals to cycle before center Eric Fehr eventually put a soft shot on Niemi, who made a right pad save. But Bruan's clearing attempt ricocheted off of his teammate Nieto's leg and back into the goal at 11:25. Fehr was credited with his 12th goal.
NOTES: Washington G Jaroslav Halak did not start Saturday because of a lower-body injury but dressed as Braden Holtby's backup. Halak had played every minute of seven straight games after dressing as a backup at Boston on March 6, the day after getting traded from Buffalo to Washington. ... The Sharks were 15-1-1 when
RW Brent Burns scored a goal this season before Saturday's game. ... Washington last won in San Jose on Oct. 30, 1993. The Caps have lost 11 and tied one since. ... The Sharks are still playing without D Brad Stuart (upper body), RW Raffi Torres (right knee) and LW Tomas Hertl (right knee surgery). RW Tyler Kennedy and D Matt Tennyson were healthy scratches. ... LW Aaron Volpatti (upper body), C Mikhail Grabovski (sprained ankle), D John Erskine (upper body) and C Brooks Laich (groin) remain out for Washington and D Connor Carrick was a healthy scratch.