The San Jose Sharks falter to finish game strong in 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center to end East-Coast road trip.
The San Jose Sharks (2-3-1) headed into the third period with a one-goal advantage over the New Jersey Devils (3-0-0) at Prudential Center. Last season where holding a lead in the final 20 minutes of regulation was a strong suit for Peter DeBoer’s team.
The Devils applied consistent offensive pressure early into the final period with two second-effort goals within the first five minutes to jump out in front. New Jersey goaltender Keith Kinkaid shut the door in the final three minutes in crucial odd-man minutes to seal the 3-2 victory over San Jose for their third-straight win to begin the season.
The San Jose Sharks take five of the possible 10 points back to SAP Center after struggling to find the back of the net on the road. It was their fifth game this season scoring just two or less goals in regulation.
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A early sign of caution into the San Jose Sharks young season has been the incomplete 60-minute effort that proved to be their downfall right out of the gate into the third period. The Devils, a team with the knack for the comeback pounced on Sharks starting netminder Martin Jones within the first five minutes of the final period.
Just 37 seconds into the third period, the Devils’ leading goal scorer Kyle Palmieri jammed a puck at the side of the net under Jones’ right skate to knot the score up 2-2. The game-tying goal was Palmieri’s second on the day and his sixth goal of the season. The 27-year-old right-winger rides an incredible hot streak, beginning all the way in Sweden, as he has lit the lamp six times in just three games.
The Devils continued to rain down shots on Jones. Three minutes later, New Jersey’s fourth line found the back of the net once again to give the home team the 3-2 edge.
Former San Jose Sharks defenseman Mirco Mueller fired a snap shot from the point that deflected awkwardly toward the crease, leaving the puck wide open in the blue paint. It was Devils forward Jean-Sebastien Dea who picked up the loose change for his second goal in as many games with his new team to put New Jersey on top.
While the San Jose Sharks struggled with unfortunate penalties and ran into the brick wall of Kinkaid at the end of the game, the start to the Sharks’ third morning matinee looked promising. After a scoreless opening frame dominated mostly by the Sharks’ forecheck and offensive drive, Joe Pavelski finally broke the ice at the 3:51 mark of the second period.
A Brent Burns shot from the right side ricocheted right off the pad of the New Jersey netminder toward the Sharks captain who buried the puck all alone to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
What a memorable goal it was as Pavelski notches his 700th career point, who becomes the third Shark in franchise history to reach this milestone behind Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. Pavelski also is just the fifth player in NHL history drafted 200th or later to rack up 700 points in his career.
The top-six for the Sharks paved the way early on as they sparked momentum in the offensive zone, forcing turnovers, working hard down low and making pin-point passes. It was the Hertl-Couture-Meier line that generated the San Jose’s second goal.
Timo Meier stripped the puck from Pavel Zacha and forced a turnover in the neutral zone. Meier proceeded to rush up with Logan Couture, who drove to the net and lost control of the puck, but then it was the time all Sharks fans were waiting for. Timo Time. With the sweet sound of iron, Meier blasted his third goal of the season with a bar-down beauty to give San Jose a 2-1 lead and a boost of confidence late in the second period.
Penalties were a persistent issue for the San Jose Sharks as they took a season-high seven minor infractions throughout the contest. Luckily, San Jose’s penalty kill locked down on defense, limiting the Devils to 1-for-8 on the man-advantage. The only blemish came on a 5-on-3 snipe from Palmieri after receiving a tremendous cross-ice from last year’s Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall.
Nevertheless, the Sharks suffered with a significant amount of time gone down the drain thanks to several moments sitting in the box. With their third-period woes and struggles in the face-off circle (39%), the Sharks know they have their work cut out ahead as they have four days to practice and improve their discipline and power play.
The Sharks seek a full bounce-back effort in their second home game of the season as they welcome in the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night. Who knows? Maybe San Jose’s stealth jerseys just might be the sneaky weapon to slice past a tough stretch to start the season.