Your San Jose Sharks are no longer winless on the road in the 2023-24 season! They are now 1-10 as they were able to beat Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Timo Meier, and the New Jersey Devils 6-3 to get that monkey off their back. It doesn’t move the Sharks above the Blackhawks in the standings, so it doesn’t hurt the team for those who want to go tanking, but it was a much-needed win for moral.
A good start for the Sharks saw Jacob MacDonald find his way into score. Mario Ferraro hit a beautiful cross-ice pass to MacDonald with a wide open cage and an acre of space. Nico Sturm driving the net created the space for MacDonald to move in and take the lead early. San Jose had something to build on, and they had something to defend. It became a question of trying to make their 7th road goal of the season a game-winner.
That would not last long as Simon Nemec loaded up from the point on a powerplay, but the shot went way over the net. As the puck took a bounce off the end boards, the Sharks were unable to react to the wild puck as quickly as Dawson Mercer, who could knock the puck past Kaapo Kahkonen. Nemec got a point in his NHL debut because it had to happen against the Sharks.
Early in the second, the Sharks would score two goals in a road game for the first time this season. MacDonald would get his second of the afternoon to restore the Sharks’ lead in his first multiple-goal game of his career. He tipped a shot from Matt Benning past Akira Schmid to put the Sharks up 2-1 in the second/ once again, giving the Sharks a lead to defend as they were trying to avoid starting the season 0-11 on the road.
Anthony Duclair then put the dagger to the throat of the Devils as they turned over Jack Hughes. Mikael Granlund found the Duke all alone, and he scored to score the third goal of the game and put the Sharks in control at around the halfway point of the game. Now, the Devils had to try and break down the young Sharks roster, and it would be a nerve-wrecking game for the fans of the boys in teal.
Early in the third period, the Devils would cut the Sharks lead to one. Calen Addison couldn’t control the puck at the Devils’ blueline, and Jack Hughes just went flying the other way. When a player that good gets a clear look at a netminder, it’s usually going to end up in the back of your net, and Kahkonen was no different despite his best effort. It was now going to be a nervy end to this game.
Duclair would get it back, though. John Marino couldn’t control a bouncing puck at the Devils blueline and the puck squirmed through to the Duke. He is able to distribute it past Akira Schmid to make it a 4-2 Sharks lead, and San Jose was looking like they could get their first road win of the season. But this season has seen nothing be straightforward for this organization, so it wasn’t going to be a comfortable end to the game.
New Jersey thought that they had cut the lead again when they were able to force the puck under Kahkonen in a scramble, but the situation room in Toronto determined that the referee’s intent to blow the whistle occurred before the puck crossed the line, meaning that the goal was no good. A lucky break for the Sharks. Nonetheless, it was a 4-2 lead for San Jose with about eight minutes left in the game.
Ondrej Palat would cut the lead to one when Jesper Bratt cut a pass back to the former member of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the slot. It was the second point of the night for Simon Nemec, who had the national shot that led to the rebound off the end glass that found Bratt. A nail-biter of a finale was in store for us as the Sharks tried to hold on to their lead at the rock.
Mikael Granlund would once again get it back for the Sharks. Duclair was in alone and managed to get the puck toward the net behind Simon Nemec and Luke Hughes which forced Akira Schmid to react. He poked it away straight onto the blade of Mikael Granlund, who put it home and restored the Sharks two goal lead. An offensive outburst at the Prudential Center by this Sharks forward core was welcome.
William Eklund would it the yawning cage as the Devils were throwing bodies in front of everything the Devils threw at them. It means that the Sharks win their first game of the season on the road at one of the preseason favorites for the Stanley Cup. Six goals on 17 shots, and the Sharks are now 1-10 on the road this season. Not good at all, but it’s now better than being winless.