Devils Lose to Sharks in OT

It was a long night for the Devils as they traveled west to San Jose and fell to the Sharks 3-2 in overtime at the SAP Center.

Firstly, add an assist to Nikita Gusev’s goal on Tuesday at Detroit. I neglected to mention that Mirco Mueller had the secondary assist on that tally. My mistake.

Second, regarding that game at the Red Wings, John Hayden was fined the maximum amount allowed by the Player’s Association under the collective bargaining agreement, $2,016.13. The amount was assessed based on his salary and the severity of the offense. The offense was for the cross-check to the face of Tyler Bertuzzi.

In roster news, Josh Jacobs was recalled from AHL Binghamton. He was a scratch today along with Will Butcher, who remains injured. The reason for the callup was because the team needed seven defensemen with the uncertainty of how long Butcher will be out.

Cory Schneider made the start for the Devils, making his first back-to-back appearance since October 12 and 14, 2019. This was also Schneider’s 300th start as a Devil, as per Steve Cangialosi of MSG Network. Congratulations to Cory on that milestone, as it moves him into second place all-time on the Devils’ list behind Martin Brodeur.

Cory stopped 27 of the 30 shots he saw from the Sharks for a .900 save percentage. Facing him for San Jose was Martin Jones, who stopped 22 of the 24 shots he saw for a .917 save percentage.

On special teams, the Devils went 0-for-4 with four shots. San Jose was 0-for-3 with five shots on goal. The Sharks also had a shorthanded shot, one on which they scored as we will see. It was a much more toned-down game than the Detroit game in terms of intensity as nothing got too out of hand.

The Sharks were in their alternate black uniforms for this late-night (at least here on the East Coast) tilt.

The Devils got on the board first, scoring 11:05 into the first period when Miles Wood cut in on the Sharks’ net and the puck was loose in front of Jones. Travis Zajac took a few whacks at the puck and, eventually, put it in. Joey Anderson had the secondary assist to help make it 1-0 Devils. This goal was Zajac’s first since January 12.

New Jersey doubled their lead 3:59 later when Gusev scored unassisted. The Devils came in on the forecheck and Pavel Zacha dug the puck out, helping to set up the goal. Gusev got it and skated to the front of the net. He waited with the puck all alone, waiting until he opened up Jones. He then scored five-hole to make it 2-0. Although Zacha did not get an assist, it was his forechecking that helped to create the goal, which was a thing of beauty from Gusev.

Later in the period, there was a 4-on-4 for about 1:53. During the 4-on-4, defenseman Dakota Mermis made a great play. San Jose’s Brent Burns had an entire half of the Devils net to shoot at and Mermis spun around as the Sharks cut in on the 2-on-1. He batted the shot by Burns out of the air and away from danger as he was doing so to stop a sure goal. A nice defensive play that saved the Devils’ bacon then.

But the Sharks would come roaring back in the second period. It began just 2:20 in when Mario Ferraro scored. It was on a delayed penalty against the Devils and the Sharks got the extra attacker on the ice. Noah Gregor and Evander Kane worked the puck to Ferraro at the point. He then shot through a couple of screens and beat Schneider clean to cut the Devils’ lead in half to 2-1.

The Sharks would tie things up at 15:58 gone while shorthanded. Kane had gone off for a hook on PK Subban to set up a Devils power play at 14:51. But about a minute into that penalty kill for San Jose, Joel Kellman and Marcus Sorensen broke in on a 2-on-1. Kellman passed to Sorensen and he scored to tie the game at two.

Following a scoreless third, it was off to overtime. And San Jose did not wait around.

Just 38 seconds into the extra session, with the Sharks dominated puck control, Burns got the puck to the net by shielding it and creating a play. The puck was loose in front and Kane gained control of it from Damon Severson. He then made a nice no-look pass from the near hashmarks to Logan Couture, who was waiting at the side of the net to shovel it in and give the Sharks the 3-2 victory.

The Sharks outshot the Devils 30-23 and had less turnovers at eight to the Devils’ ten. San Jose also led in hits at 30-24. The Devils won 55-percent of the game’s faceoffs, with Zajac winning the most personally amongst centers at 58-percent. The Devils also had more blocked shots at 21 to eight.

Ice time-wise, Severson led with 24:22 (3:27 on the power play and 2:23 on the PK) while Nico Hischier led the forwards (and led all but two defensemen) with 20:20 (3:39 on the PP and 42 seconds shorthanded included).

Shots on goal were led by Severson and Kyle Palmieri with three each. Hits were led by Mueller and Subban with four apiece. Blocks by Mueller with five and takeaways by Severson with two.

Next up, the Devils travel down the California coast to Los Angeles where they take on the Kings on Saturday. That one is a 4 PM ET puck drop and we will have that for you then. Have a great weekend everyone!

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