It required two goals that deflected off Sharks and into their own net, and a shootout, but the Washington Capitals finally ended a 20-plus-year drought between wins in San Jose.

Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored in the shootout to give Washington a 3-2 victory over the vaunted Sharks that marked its first in Northern California since Oct. 30, 1993. In present context, the triumph marked the end to a successful three-game road trip against the top rough-and-tumble teams of the Pacific Division.

The Capitals became just the second of 16 teams that visited the three California-based squads — San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim — consecutively to make it through the gauntlet having gained five of possible six points. It also capped a five-game stretch in which Washington has captured nine of 10 points to surge back into the thick of the playoff hunt.

“You come out [on the road], you knew it was three good teams,” Coach Adam Oates said. “I think they were just mentally ready to play good hockey, right from the first game in Anaheim, you knew they were a good team and I think the guys were just mentally ready to do that.”

The win pushed Washington up to 79 points, tying the Detroit Red Wings in the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and sitting one back of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who occupy the first wild-card slot. The Capitals remain out of the playoff picture, though, because Detroit wins the first tiebreaker with more regulation and overtime victories.

But this result was far from guaranteed when the Capitals faced a one-goal deficit in the third period, until Chris Brown recorded his first NHL goal to tie the contest with 7 minutes 30 seconds remaining in regulation.

“It’s a pretty special feeling obviously,” said Brown, who was acquired in the trade that sent Martin Erat to Phoenix. “But we got the win, that’s the most important – got the two points and kept the season alive.”

The evening started with an unexpected switch in goal for the Capitals. Jaroslav Halak had been scheduled to make his eighth straight start after going 4-2-1 with a .935 save percentage and 2.13 goals against average since being acquired at the trade deadline but was held out because of a lower-body injury.