In a span of just over seven minutes, the Sharks managed to solidify their playoff chances and all but end the season of one of their division rivals.

Logan Couture, Tommy Wingels and Joe Pavelski scored goals just seven minutes and 11 seconds apart in the second period of a 4-0 Sharks win at Arena on Monday night. The Sharks are virtually assured of a playoff spot at this point, while Phoenix’s already slim chances to make it to the postseason may have vanished in the regulation loss.

It was a dominant middle frame for the road team, which managed four of a possible eight points on its four-game trip. The Sharks finished with 24 shots on goal to Phoenix’s seven in the second period after a scoreless first, and cruised to a rare easy victory.

What led to the takeover?

“We just got pucks behind them and forechecked,” Couture said. “When we forecheck and roll all four lines, we’re a tough team to beat. When we’re fast and we’re throwing pucks to the net…I don’t know how many shots we got in the second, but it sure seemed like we had a ton.”

Todd McLellan said: “In the first period we came down and created some good looks but never wanted to shoot. In the second period, we decided we were going to forecheck, throw pucks at the net, get it back and use our size. It worked for us.”

Antti Niemi’s fourth shutout of the season in his 20th straight start was also notable, although he had plenty of help from his teammates. The Sharks surrendered 35 shots on goal, including 16 in the third period, but Phoenix didn’t have as many scoring chances as that total might suggest. San Jose finished with 41.

“They shot a lot in the third, but I think we were able to keep them out of from in front of the net,” Niemi said. “They were shooting lots of pucks from the corners, too.”

McLellan gave his goalie a little more credit.

“I thought they were dumping a lot of pucks onto him, so those are shots on goal, but he did have to make some real good saves at certain times,” he said.