Clutch performances help Sharks beat Devils, finally end misery on road

Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News on

Published in Hockey

The San Jose Sharks made the most of their limited opportunities — and survived some hairy moments — to earn their first road win of the season on Friday.

Jacob MacDonald and Anthony Duclair each scored twice and goalie Kaapo Kahkonen made 45 saves as the Sharks beat the New Jersey Devils, 6-3, at the Prudential Center to improve to 1-10-0 away from home this year.

Duclair’s second goal, at the 5:07 mark of the third period, proved to be the winner as the Sharks took a 4-2 lead. After Ondrej Palat scored with 7:02 left in the third period, Mikael Granlund scored his second of the season, helping the Sharks seal their first win on the road since April 1 when they beat the Arizona Coyotes in Tempe.

William Eklund added an empty-net goal with 18 seconds left in regulation time as the Sharks (6-16-2) started December on a positive note, despite having just 18 shots on net.

San Jose had been outscored 42-6 in its 10 previous road games this season — and matched that offensive output in one night.

MacDonald’s goals came at the 2:10 mark of the first period and the 2:51 mark of the second. On the second goal, which gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead, Matt Benning sent a shot from the point that MacDonald redirected past Devils goalie Akira Schmid.

Duclair gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead as he one-timed a pass from Granlund past Schmid for his fourth goal of the season at the 9:47 mark of the second period as he snapped a seven-game point drought.

Jack Hughes and Dawson Mercer also scored for New Jersey, but Timo Meier, in his first game against his former team, was held scoreless.

Meier, selected ninth overall by the Sharks in 2015, had 316 points in 451 regular-season games for the Sharks from 2016 to 2023. He was traded to the Devils in February in a blockbuster nine-player swap between the two teams.


Meier had been out with a lower-body injury for New Jersey’s last seven games, including Thursday’s game with Philadelphia, but wasn’t going to miss a chance to play against his former team, especially since San Jose had allowed an NHL-worst 3.96 goals per game.

Two of the players the Sharks received from the Devils in the Meier trade, forward Fabian Zetterlund and defensemen Nikita Okhotiuk, have become mainstays in the team’s lineup. Zetterlund entered Friday tied for the team lead with six goals, and Okhotiuk played in 13 of the Sharks’ 14 games in November.

Zetterlund was drafted in the third round by the Devils in 2017 and had 28 points in 59 games for New Jersey before he was sent to the Sharks.

“It happens fast. Just packed my stuff and went to San Jose,” Zetterlund said of the trade. “It was a change for me, but I feel really good right now.”

Kahkonen started Friday’s game instead of Mackenzie Blackwood, who was drafted by the Devils in 2015 and went 65-57-18 over five seasons from 2018 to 2023.

Blackwood wasn’t necessarily feeling any nostalgia upon his return to Newark.

“It’s just another game, really,” Blackwood said before Friday’s game. “Obviously, I spent a lot of time here, so it’ll be nice to see some of the guys I played with before. But other than that, it’ll probably be interesting for me to see the rink from the other side.”

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