Photo credit: San Jose Sharks
by M. Walsh
The San Jose Sharks started a five-game road trip on Friday, with a 3-0 win in New Jersey. Melker Karlsson scored the first goal of the game, with Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi adding to the score. Martin Jones made 28 saves for the shutout, while Keith Kinkaid made 30 stops for the Devils.
Asked if starting the trip a day early helped prepare the team, Sharks Captain Joe Pavelksi said:
Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. We won, so it helped. Coming off our home stand which wasn’t the best, I think it was good for us to get on the road an extra day and realize it’s a business trip for sure but we’ll have some fun, and it’s a great way to start it tonight.
The New Jersey Devils have had an excellent start to their season, winning six of seven games before the loss to the Sharks. Two of their young stars, forward Nico Hischier and defenseman Will Butcher get some credit for the early season success. In Friday’s game, Butcher led his team with five shots on goal. So far this season, Butcher has nine assists, while Hischier has two goals and five assists. After the game, Martin Jones described the Devils’ game as “They’re quick, they’re really good around the net. They make a lot of quick little plays in and around the net, so they’re definitely a dangerous team.”
The Sharks lineup looked the same as it had in their last game, one of just two wins this season. After the game, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said:
We need our depth, I thought our depth guys were good tonight. I thought all the guys on Tierney and Carpenter’s line were solid and we got good contributions from them. If not offense, then zone time and offensive zone play. So that was a good sign… It was the best that our depth forwards I think have played as a group, which is what we need.
The first goal came in the first period at 14:11. Tim Heed shot the puck in and the Sharks forwards swarmed the net. After Kinkaid made a couple of stops, Hertl made a quick pass from behind the net that found Karlsson right on the edge of the blue paint. From there he was able to put the puck into the far corner. Assists went to Hertl and Heed.
During that sequence, Logan Couture seemed to take the a shot off of his ankle and he left the game for the rest of the period. He did return to play the second period, but then missed some minutes at the start of the third.
The second goal came early in the second period. The Devils had the Sharks stuck in their own zone for a spell, but when the Sharks broke out they moved quickly. Defenseman Justin Braun sent the puck down low to Joe Thornton, who sent it right back as Pavelski got to the net. Braun took the shot from the blue line and Pavelski tipped it in. Assists went to Thornton and Braun. Of the goal, Pavelski said after the game:
I was a little surprised it went in, I was really tight to the goalie at the time. A lot of times they’ll be able to shut those down. Actually, one of my uncles passed yesterday and that was the one thing, you know, from family that they said, get a goal for that. And I don’t think that goal probably should have went in so I’m sure he had a little bit to do with it.
In the final two minutes of the second period, Joonas Donskoi showed off his skill and tenacity with the third goal. He carried the puck over the line, accompanied by his linemates Jannik Hansen and Ryan Carpenter. Donskoi took a shot from the faceoff circle which Kinkaid stopped and kicked back out. Donskoi caught the rebound on his backhand and threw it back in. An assist went to Justin Braun. Of Donskoi’s performance, DeBoer said:
He’s a very good player. Whether he plays with Thornton and Pavelksi or whether he plays with Tierney or Carpenter, he comes to work every game and he’s got to find a way to create offense for us. So I thought he was good tonight, played well. He’s just got to keep building on that.
The Sharks play again Saturday in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders at 4:00 PM PT.