It took 11 tries this season but the Sharks
finally won a game away from SAP Center, as they knocked off the New Jersey
Devils 6-3 at the Prudential Center. San Jose scored 6 times and rode some
stellar goaltending from Kaapo Kahkonen en route to their 6th win of the
season. Anthony Duclair and Jacob MacDonald each scored a pair goals to lead
San Jose on offense. Kahkonen made 44 saves in the win, including 21 in the 3rd
Goaltending has been one of the bright spots for San Jose this
season. Friday night was no fluid on offense.
That was on full display
in a wild 3rd period that had the two teams combine for 5 goals. Kahkonen
allowed a pair of goals in that frame, but was otherwise stellar.
teams traded goals in an opening period that was largely controlled by the
Sharks. MacDonald staked the Sharks to a 1-0 lead 2:10 into the game. MacDonald
forced a turnover with a check along the right wing boards, allowing the Sharks
to cycle the puck to the left side. Mario Ferraro carried it toward the left
post before sending a pass to MacDonald on the off wing for a slam duck goal.
A Matt Benning holding penalty put the Devils on the power play for
the first of their two chance on the night. The league's 3rd ranked power play
made quick work of the Sharks when Dawson Mercer was the benefactor of a
fortuitous bounce. Making his NHL debut, defenseman Simon Nemac fired a puck
toward the net that sailed high, but it hit the end board glass and bounced
back over the net right to Mercer. Kahkonen was looking over his shoulder to
find the puck behind the goal when Mercer punched it home for the 1-1 tie.
Benning atoned for his penalty with the primary assist on the Sharks
2nd goal of the night. He fired a puck from the right point that MacDonald
redirected past goaltender Akira Schmid while positioned between the circles.
San Jose made it a 3-1 game at 9:47 when Anthony Duclair one-timed a
Mikael Granlund feed past Shmid from a tight angle on the right side. Granlund
picked Jack Hughes pocket in the neutral zone before slicing to the left side
and sending a pass through the slot to Duclair for the finish.
cut into the Sharks lead 2:56 into the 3rd period with his 9th goal of the
season when Calen Addison fumbled the puck away at the Devils blueline. Hughes
collected it and raced up the right side before snapping a shot past Kahkonen
from inside the right circle.
Duclair added his 2nd of the night 2
minutes later after the Sharks were able to chip the puck out of their own end
and Granlund sent a centering feed off from the end of the Devils bench.
Duclair had a step on Mercer which allowed him to collect Granlund's feed
before deeking Schmid right to left for his 5th tally of the season.
New Jersey cut the Sharks lead to 4-3 with 7:02 to
play when Ondrej Palat one-timed a Jesper Bratt feed past Kahkonen. The Devils
worked the puck to the left side after a faceoff win, when Bratt spoted Palat
in the slot. The bang-bang feed beat Kahkonen glove side from 15 feet out.
That was all Kahkonen would allow. The Devils would throw everything
from the trainer's room sink at the Sharks netminder in the period.
Granlund gave the Sharks some breathing room at 13:38 by scoring his 2nd goal
of the season. His 3rd point of the night came via a bad turnover by Luke
Hughes and Schmid. Duclair tried chipping the puck on net from the right wing
boards before heading to the net. He overskated it, but Hughes and Schmid
crossed each other up by pushing the puck out to the front of the net where a
trailing Granlund lifted it over the Devils netminder for the 5-3 lead.
William Eklund buried an empty net goal with 17.9 seconds remaining to
ice the game. Game Notes:
* Luke Kunin was scratched
with an upper body injury. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was a healthy scratch, his 7th
in the last 8 games.
* Former Shark Timo Meier made his return to the
Devils lineup after missing the last 7 games with a lower body injury. Meier
was a -2 on the night, with 5 shots on goal.
* The Sharks had two
former Devils on the ice. Fabian Zetterlund recorded 3 hits, 2 blocked shots
and a single shot on goal in the Sharks win. Defenseman Nikita Okhotiuk
recorded 2 hits, 3 blocked shot and 2 shots on goal. Former Devils goaltender
Mackenzie Blackwood served as Kaapo Kahkonen's backup after playing the night
before in Boston.
* In addition to making his NHL debut, defenseman
Simon Nemec recorded his fist NHL point with an assist on Dawson Mercer's power
* What was more remarkable than the fact that San Jose
scored 6 goals, was that they did it on only 18 shots. Schmid only stopped 12
pucks in a forgettable performance.