NHL Game Recap: New Jersey Devils vs. San Jose Sharks | 02/27/2024

Timo Meier and Jesper Bratt celebrate a goal against the San Jose Sharks
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The New Jersey Devils defeated the San Jose Sharks 7-2 on Tuesday night at the SAP Center in a much-needed blowout victory. The Devils put together an offensive outburst and got strong goaltending to secure an important two points in their push for the playoffs. With the win, the Devils improved to 30-25-4 while the Sharks dropped to 15-37-5.

Game Recap

Period One

New Jersey came out strong and put a lot of pucks on former Devils netminder Mackenzie Blackwood in the first ten minutes. They had an early power play that generated six shots, but Blackwood kept everything out. The Devils led the shot count 10-3 at the halfway mark.

Simon Nemec was boarded by Alexander Barabanov with no call and was slow to get back to the bench, but he ultimately remained in the game.

Then, during a late TV timeout, Blackwood was replaced in net by Kaapo Kahkonen after going down the tunnel with what was later revealed to be a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.

At 18:17, the Devils gave up the first goal for the 43rd time this season. Nico Sturm, driving to the net, redirected the puck off his skate to beat Nico Daws. Barabanov had the only assist.

The Devils, despite the early jump, only outshot the Sharks 13-12 in the period and allowed seven shots in the final two minutes, including the goal.

Period Two

After a great save from Daws, the Devils went the other way and beat Kahkonen on a two-on-one break. Jesper Bratt finished off a great passing play to tie the game at 3:29. Timo Meier tallied the primary assist in his return to San Jose. Nico Hischier also added an assist.

Then, at 4:06, Jack Hughes picked off a pass between the Sharks’ defensemen and beat Kahkonen’s five-hole on the breakaway. The goal was unassisted.

The Sharks surged in the following shifts, but Daws made the saves to preserve the Devils’ lead. Luke Hughes also made some strong defensive plays to eliminate chances.

At 13:08, Kevin Bahl scored his first goal of the year with a slapshot blasted past Kahkonen. Hischier and Jack Hughes collected the assists.

The Devils outshot San Jose 16-13 in the period.

Period Three

The Devils mounted intense early pressure and were rewarded at 2:41. Colin Miller scored his third of the season with a quick shot from the blue line. Hischier and Meier both added assists to their nightly point totals.

At 5:01, Brendan Smith lit the lamp with another shot from the blue line to beat Kahkonen and give the Devils a four-goal lead. Ondrej Palat and Chris Tierney collected the assists.

Then, at 6:57, Dawson Mercer notched his 16th goal of the season and first point in seven games with a shot from the slot. Jack Hughes and John Marino had the assists.

Exactly a minute later, Hischier added to the onslaught with a goal to make it 7-1. Bratt and Jonas Siegenthaler tallied the assists.

Despite the lack of action, Daws stayed sharp at the other end of the ice and stonewalled Fabian Zetterlund’s wide-open shot off the rush.

However, at 12:33, Justin Bailey beat Daws with a shot that deflected off a few bodies in front of the blue paint. Ryan Carpenter and Henry Thrun had the assists.

The Devils controlled the remaining minutes and cruised to a much-needed dominant victory. They outshot the Sharks 44-31 in the game.

Takeaways

The Devils’ big players showed up in a must-win game to keep their playoff hopes alive. The captain, Hischier, paved the way with a four-point night consisting of one goal and three assists, including his 200th career assist. Jack Hughes was in his finest form with a goal and two assists. Bratt contributed with a goal and an assist, including the Devils’ first goal of the night to spark the surge. Meier also put together a strong showing with two assists in his return to the SAP Center.

The defensemen showed up for New Jersey in the victory as well. Bahl, Miller, and Smith each found the back of the net, and five out of seven defensemen got on the scoresheet. The offensive contributions from the blue line proved important and gave the Devils a cushion to ride out the final minutes and enjoy a comfortable win.

Daws put together another strong performance in net for the Devils. He saved 29 of 31 shots from San Jose and posted a .935 SV% with 1.53 GSAx. He made some crucial saves to keep the game within reach, especially when the Devils were reeling in the final minutes of the first period and early in the second.

Up Next

The Devils get two days off before they take on the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night in California.

The Ducks are 20-35-3 on the season and sit just above the Sharks in the league standings, in 30th place. They are also 4-5-1 in their past ten games and will face the Devils in the second half of a back-to-back with travel, having faced the Sharks on Thursday night.

This is the second meeting of the year between the Devils and Ducks. Anaheim won the first contest 5-1 in New Jersey on December 17th.

Puck drop is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. EST.

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