The east coast swing continued in New Jersey
on Tuesday night for the Sharks who were trying to build on a nice victory over
the Chicago Blackhawks 48 hours earlier. They responded with a 2nd period
outburst that propelled them to a big 4-2 win over the host Devils at the
Prudential Center. Timo Meier, Noah Gregor and Alexander Barabanov all had
2-point nights to lead San Jose.
James Reimer carried a shutout into
the 3rd period until he surrendered a pair of goals. His 32 save performance
was enough to lead San Jose to their 12th victory of the season.
Gregor opened the game's scoring with his 1st goal of the season at 4:26 of the
1st period. Radim Simek pumped a shot on goal from the blueline, but Devils
goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made the save. What Blackwood failed to do was
control the rebound which landed on Gregor's stick as he was cutting across the
slot from left to right. With defenseman Ty Smith draped all over him, Gregor
swiped at the puck and chipped it over Blackwood's glove hand, fooling the
netminder with an off-speed number.
There was no shortage of shots in
the period. New Jersey recorded 14 shots on goal, while San Jose countered with
10. Both teams traded breakaway chances in the final minute of the period.
Jake Middleton doubled the Sharks lead at 4:14 of the 2nd period when
he roofed a shot from the slot. The Sharks worked the puck off the right wing
boards when Gregor saw Middleton pinching from the blueline. He slid pass to
point between the circles where Middleton gathered it and threaded a needle as
his shot found a gap between Blackwood and the upper left corner of the goal.
The Devils challenged the goal for offside, but video replay confirmed
the goal. New Jersey was then penalized for an unsuccessful challenge,
resulting in a delay of game penalty. The Sharks would not capitalize on the
Devils penalty, but they would after Jesper Bratt was call for hooking at
Meier scored his 10th of the season when Logan Couture whipped a
pass out of the right corner through the slot while the Sharks enjoyed the man
advantage. Meier was cutting toward the net on the left side, where he gathered
Couture's pass and lifted a shot past Blackwood for the 3-0 lead.
San Jose tacked on another goal 41 seconds later
when Erick Karlsson deposited a back door goal from the left side after
Barabanov sent a pass through the slot, splitting two Devil defenders. Karlsson
was parked between the left circle and the crease, where he slammed home the
Barabanov feed for his 4th goal of the season.
The Sharks started the
3rd period with the sole intent of killing clock. With a 4-goal lead there was
no reason to press offensively. Problem is, they got a little too complacent.
James Reimer lost the shutout when Tomas Tatar scored his 4th goal of
the season at 9:12 of the frame. Tatar flexed the hand-eye coordination when he
swatted a puck out of the air with a backhand, after Pavel Zacha bounced a shot
off of Reimer.
The Sharks were working in the offensive zone when a
pass to Middleton deflected off his skate and out of the zone, where Andreas
Johnsson chipped it up ice. Bratt got a jump on two Shark defenders and raced
up ice before wristing a shot that beat Reimer.
The Devils tried to
claw back by pulling Blackwood for the extra attacker, but Meier stepped in
front of a pass attempt and deposited the empty net tally with 3:01 left in
regulation. Game Notes:
* Brent Burns was momentarily
dinged up after he was hit up high late in the opening period. He would skate
off on his own power, but did not return to the ice until the 5 minute mark of
the 2nd period. Burns has gone 10 straight games without recording a point.
* Mario Ferraro has been a shot blocking machine this season, as he
leads the NHL, but he was only credit with a lone block on Tuesday night.
* Nick Bonino led all skaters in the faceoff circle with 13 wins in 19
draws (68%). The Sharks finished the game with a 34-24 advantage in draws
* Not surprisingly, Timo Meier and Noah Gregor combined for 10
shots on goal in the game. They combined for 3 goals and an assist for San
* James Reimer went almost two full games without surrendering a
goal. He was yanked on Friday night in the 2nd period after Toronto scored 4
goals on him, but he shutout Chicago on Sunday and kept the Devils at bay for