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Sharks hang on in Jersey
San Jose allows late surge by Devils but wins 4-2
10/18/14 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks were not very accommodating guests on Saturday night. With the New Jersey Devils hosting their home opener at the Prudential Center in Newark, the Sharks were supposed to all the home crowd to celebrate the start of the 2014-15 NHL season with a Devils victory. San Jose apparently didn't get the script. At least not until the 3rd period, when another defensive lapse almost allowed the Devils to claw their way back from a 3-0 deficit.

The Devils drew within 3-2 late before an empty net goal by Joe Thornton settled things. San Jose escaped with a 4-2 win, having recorded points in all 5 games they've played in this season. The win also got the Sharks back in the win column after dropping their first game on Long Island on Thursday night in a shootout.

San Jose continued their dominance in the opening period, outscoring their opponent, but that 3rd period continues to be a sore subject for the Sharks. The Devils scored a pair of goals in the final 20 minutes after San Jose had built what seemed like a comfortable lead, turning what appeared to be a blow out into a one-goal game with enough time for New Jersey to challenge the Sharks..

The Sharks showed a little feistiness early in the game when league irritant Jordan Tootoo took out Adam Burish with an open ice hit as the Sharks forward tried skating down a loose puck. Andrew Desjardins didn't waste any time going after Tootoo and locking up in a spirited scrap.

If the Sharks are going to prove to themselves that this is a team, actions like Desjardins need to be the rule rather than the exception.

San Jose scored the game's first goal late in the opening period on a power play tally by Joe Pavelski. The Sharks strung together a series of passes that sent the puck on a tour of the right corner of the rink before Logan Couture put a shot on Devils goaltender Cory Schenider. The shot bounced off Schneider's left pad, but it kicked out to Pavelski in the slot for the quick put back. San Jose was on the power play after Jon Merrill cross checked Couture into the corner boards.

Travis Zajac just missed on a turnover in front of the Sharks net, but Niemi stepped in front of a shot that lifted over Niemi's right shoulder.

A Scott Hannan hooking penalty midway through the 2nd period setup a dicey situation for San Jose, but once again, Niemi diffused the situation. Adam Burish almost turned the tables on New Jersey when a puck deflected out of the Sharks zone, setting up a breakaway for the Sharks forward. Schneider denied Burish to keep the game within a goal.

Schneider couldn't stop Logan Couture however, who bagged his 1st goal of the season, netting a shot off the power play. Mike Cammalleri put the Sharks on the man advantage after slashing Patrick Marleau's stick to the ice. Couture slipped into the slot and snapped a shot from 15 feet ot between three Devils defenders after taking a pass from Marleau who was floating near the right corner. The goal came at almost the identical time of the period as Pavelski's goal 20 minutes earlier.

Marleau made it a 3-0 game 1:36 into the 3rd period by firing a shot on net from the high slot. The puck slipped through Schneider's 5-hole and seemed to evade everyone in the rink. The goal was Marleau's 4th of the season.

Mike Cammalleri finally got to Niemi with a shot from the right dot at the 8:00 mark. San Jose let down their guard as the Devils crossed the blueline and allowed New Jersey to move the puck laterally on the rush.

Adam Henrique made it a 3-2 game with just under 8 minutes left in regulation, and the doubts began to mount. San Jose blew 3rd period leads in D.C. and Long Island earlier this week. Another goal and San Jose would have squandered leads late in their third consecutive game.

Niemi had to make a dangerous save on Henrique moments later after the Devils forward chipped a Jaromir Jagr pass on net after slipping past the Sharks defense with 6:30 to play.

Tommy Wingels picked off a puck at center ice then raced up ice on a breakaway before being tripped up from behind. San Jose missed out on the chance to re-establish some buffer when Wingels put this ensuing penalty shot into Schneider's mid-section to keep the game at 3-2.

Thornton tied Dino Ciccarelli for 49th on the all-time scoring list, with an empty netter late to seal the victory for San Jose.

Game Notes:

* Brent Burns became the first Sharks defenseman to start a season with a 5 game point streak.

* The Sharks have outscored their opponents 7-0 in the 1st period through 5 games this season. They've been outscored 6-4 in the 3rd period over that same span.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 2 4
NJD 0 0 2 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 2 (Couture, Burns), 17:53, (pp).
2nd period - 2, SJ, Couture 1 (Marleau, Pavelski), 17:52, (pp).
3rd period - 3, SJ, Marleau 4 (Couture, Braun), 1:36. 4, NJ, Cammalleri 5 (Jagr, Greene), 8:00. 5, NJ, Henrique 2 (Ryder, Merrill), 12:10. Wingels, SJ (unsuccessful penalty shot), 16:16. 6, SJ, Thornton 1 (Pavelski), 18:46, (en).
1st period - SJ, Desjardins (fighting major), 5:07; Tootoo, NJ (interference), 5:07; Tootoo, NJ (fighting major), 5:07; Braun, SJ (hooking), 10:57; Merrill. NJ (interference), 16:54.
2nd period - Thornton, SJ (hooking), 0:33; Jagr, NJ (interference), 3:29; Hannan, SJ (hooking), 9:49.
3rd period - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 37 35
NJ - Schnieder 32 28
NJ - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 9 14 9 32
NJD 8 15 14 37
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 4
NJD 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Logan Couture
Patrick Marleau
Mike Cammalleri
Referees: St Pierre, Sutherland. Linesmen: Morin, Murchison.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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