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Meier leads Sharks over Devils
San Jose splits season series with New Jersey
12/10/18 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks had a score to settle with the New Jersey Devils after gagging up a win on the East Coast back in October. San Jose exacted some revenge on the Devils by grabbing a lead and holding it this time in a 5-2 win at SAP Center. The Sharks blew a 3rd period lead the last time these two teams played, but San Jose built on a 3rd period lead this time around en route to their 16th win of the season.

A youth movement helped San Jose on this night, getting scoring a slew of their younger players. The Sharks were forced to play catch up early on. Getting out-shot 8-2 through the first 12 minutes of the game will do that, but the Sharks overcame an early deficit and battled back to grab a 1st period lead that they would not relinquish.

Drew Stafford threw the puck on net from the right corner at a severe angle, which resulted in a soft goal when Martin Jones failed to seal off the right side of the net. The Sharks goaltender continued to sting his own team with sub-par goaltending, on a shot that should have been handled routinely.

Timo Meier tied the game with his 15th goal of the season just under 4 minutes later by taking a Tomas Hertl feed up the right side and snapping a wrist shot over Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid's right shoulder.

Joe Pavelski made it a 2-1 Sharks lead with 1:57 left in the period, by grabbing a rebound that dropped in front of Kinkaid and snapping home the puck into a wide open net. Brendan Dillon earned the primary assist with a shot from the point that hit Kinkaid in the chest. The netminder failed to cover it up, allowing Pavelski to pull the puck away and fire it home.

Radim Shimek pushed the Sharks lead to 3-1 at 7:19 of the middle period with his first career NHL goal. The rookie defenseman ripped a shot from the blueline that may have clipped a Devils defender on the way to the net. Lukas Radil earned his first career NHL assist on the play, setting up Simek with the primary assist.

Devils Captain Andy Greene cut the Sharks lead back to a single goal less than 2 minutes later when Kyle Palmieri fed the puck out to the front of the net. Palmieri out-muscled Marc-Edouard Vlasic as the two jostled for the puck as they skated past the left post. Greene crashed in on net as two Sharks defender's sat on each post as the puck split them, landing on Greene' stick.

Meier made it a two-goal night just over 5 minutes remaining in the period. The Sharks had just killed a Joonas Donskoi interference penalty when the Sharks forward jumped on a Devils turnover in the neutral zone. Donskoi moved the puck to Meier on the left wing and the Swiss winger skated in on Kinkaid and scoped out his shot selection before whipping a shot from inside the left dot that tucked just inside the right post.

Jones had a relatively routine evening the rest of the way out. His toughest chance came with 5:45 left in regulation when Stafford charged in on net and tried jamming a pair of chances from the doorstep.

The Sharks netminder would finish the evening with 22 saves on 24 shots. Aside from Stafford's goal, the goaltender was solid.

The Devils bench was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at 14:14 of the period, and Devils head coach John Hynes was clearly perturbed by the call, and took a good three minutes to discuss with referee Kevin Pollock. San Jose wasted no time cashing in on the man advantage. Tomas Hertl whipped a shot from the slot past Kinkaid for his 9th goal of the season.

Game Notes:

* In addition to his fist career NHL goal, Radim Simek was also a +3 on the night. The defenseman added a hit and a takeaway on 20 shifts.

* The Sharks won 38 of 60 draws, converting at a 63% clip. Puck possession was clearly a factor in the Sharks success. Every Shark to take a draw finished with a faceoff percentage greater than 50% with the exception of Evander Kane and Joonas Donskoi who were a combined 0-for-3.

* Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Timo Meier combined for 14 of the Sharks 34 shots on goal.

* The Devils were not a big hitting team, which is more favorable for San Jose. The Devils only recorded 14 hits in the game. By comparison, the non-hitting Sharks recorded 13 hits in the game.

* Defensemen Justin Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were the only Sharks to finish with a minus rating.


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1 2 3 T
NJ 1 1 0 2
SJ 2 2 1 5
1st period - 1, NJ, Stafford 1 (Severson, Greene), 12:05. 2, SJ, Meier 15 (Hertl), 15:51. 3, SJ, Pavelski 20 (Dillon, E. Karlsson), 18:03.
2nd period - 4, SJ, Simek 1 (Radil, Burns), 7:19. 5, NJ, Greene 1 (Palmieri, Hischier), 8:59. 6, Meier 16 (Donskoi), 14:52.
3rd period - 7, SJ, Hertl 9 (Labanc, Pavelski), 14:23, (pp).
1st period - Radil, SJ (tripping), 5:39.
2nd period - Seney, NJ (slashing), 10:11; Donskoi, SJ (interfernece), 12:35.
3rd period - Bench, NJ (unsportsmanlink conduct), 14:14.
Shots Saves
NJ - Kinkaid 34 29
SJ - Jones 24 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
NJ 9 10 5 24
SJ 11 8 15 34
Power Play Conversion
NJ 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Timo Meier
Joe Pavelski
Radim Simek
SAP Center - 17,097
Referees: Pollock, Nicholson. Linesmen: Gibbons, Suchanek.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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