NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — After a mediocre start at home, Martin Jones and the San Jose Sharks turned in a solid performance in their first road game.
Jones made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and 16th overall in the Sharks’ 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
San Jose played the first five games at home, compiling a 2-3-0 record.
“Our group was ready to get on the road,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. “Traditionally we’ve been a good road team. It was nice to get the group out on the road.”
And an especially nice way to kick off a five-game East Coast trip.
Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi scored and Justin Braun had two assists as the Sharks played a smart and controlled road game.
And Jones was there to vacuum up any mistakes, particularly in the first period.
“They came out pretty hard, we knew they were going to,” Jones said. “They have quick little forwards who are good around the net with quick plays, but I thought we were really good.”
Keith Kinkaid, the top goalie for New Jersey with Cory Schneider on injured reserve, stopped 30 shots as the Devils’ three-game winning streak came to an end.
The Devils couldn’t muster a strong push in the later stages against the rested Sharks. It was New Jersey’s second game two nights following a 5-4 overtime victory in Ottawa. And it showed against the Sharks, who played a strong road game, pressed their advantage and solidly supported Jones.
“We were a little stubborn tonight,” Devils captain Andy Greene said. “We weren’t using our speed to create chances and to put them in foot races. We did it spurts and we had some great chances, but we didn’t do it long enough and hard enough.”
Karlsson scored the lone goal of the opening period at 14:11 on a close-in shot following a slick behind-the-net setup pass from Tomas Hertl.
The shots were 13 for each team in the evenly played period. The Devils came close on several occasions as former Shark Mirco Mueller and Blake Coleman both hit the crossbar and Jones robbed Drew Stafford on a dead-on drive from the slot.
“Like most of the shots tonight the guys did a good job around the net and I was able to see it and track it well,” Jones said of the save against Stafford.
Pavelski and Donskoi got second-period goals as the Sharks steadily tightened their grip on the game.
Pavelski tipped in Braun’s point shot at 5:49. Joe Thornton got the second assist, his 1,395th point, to pass Luc Robitaille for 21st on the career list.
Donskoi backhanded a rebound shot with 1:10 left in the period in which the Sharks outshot the Devils 11-6.
The remaining drama centered on Jones’ shutout bid.
“You look around the league and anybody that is winning games is getting good goaltending,” DeBoer said. “We expect that out of him. Again, he was our best player tonight.”
The Devils could not disagree.
“He played a really good game,” Devils forward Kyle Palmieri said. “He was solid. He’s a really good goaltender obviously with the success he’s had in San Jose. He’s a big guy who takes up a lot of net. He did a pretty good job of controlling his rebounds and making sure there weren’t too many easy looks for us.”
NOTES: The Devils placed Schneider on injured reserve Friday with a lower-body injury and recalled Scott Wedgewood from Binghamton of the American Hockey League to serve as Kinkaid’s backup. … Mueller, a healthy scratch in three of the previous four games, returned for the Devils to face the Sharks, the team that drafted him in the first round, for the first time. He was dealt to New Jersey over the summer.
Sharks: At the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Devils: Host Ottawa on Friday night.
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