NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – DECEMBER 01: Jacob MacDonald #9 of the San Jose Sharks is congratulated by teammates Nico Sturm #7 and Mario Ferraro #38 after MacDonald scored during the first period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on December 01, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The San Jose Sharks took advantage of their limited opportunities – and survived some tough times – to earn their first road victory of the season on Friday.
Jacob MacDonald and Anthony Duclair each scored twice and goalie Kaapo Kahkonen made 44 saves, including 21 in the third period, as the Sharks beat the New Jersey Devils 6-3 at Prudential Center to improve to 1- 10-0 away. at home this year.
Duclair’s second goal, at 5:07 of the third period, gave the Sharks a 4-2 lead as they earned their first road win since last season when they beat the Coyotes. ‘Arizona 7-2 at Tempe on April 1.
“It was obviously a big topic of conversation before every away game, but tonight the boys stepped up, especially in back-to-back games,” Duclair said, mentioning the Sharks’ 3-0 loss to the Bruins from Boston, Friday. “I really liked the way we started the game, especially against (New Jersey), so fast, so skillful. We did a great job slowing them down.
After Ondrej Palat scored with 7:02 left in the third period, Mikael Granlund scored his second of the season to cap a three-point night. He contributed to both of Duclair’s goals. and now has six points in four games.
“He can be a real offensive factor,” Granlund said of Duclair. “I hope we can continue like this. »
William Eklund added an empty-net goal with 18 seconds left in regulation as the Sharks (6-16-2) started December on a positive note, despite only having 18 shots on goal.
San Jose had been outscored 42-6 in its previous 10 road games this season – and had matched that offensive output in a single night.
“I’m just happy for our guys,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “It’s been a tough task, especially on the road and finding a way to win like we did is a credit to our team.”
MacDonald’s goals came at 2:10 of the first period and 2:51 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 goaltender Akira Schmid.
Duclair gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead when he fired a Granlund pass past Schmid for his fourth goal of the season at 9:47 of the second period, ending 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 with the Sharks from 2016 to 2023. He was traded to the Devils in February as part of a blockbuster nine-player trade between the two teams.
Meier had been out with a lower-body injury for New Jersey’s last seven games, including Thursday’s game against Philadelphia, but he wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to play against his former team, especially more than San Jose had allowed an NHL-worst 3.96. goals per match.
Two of the players the Sharks received from the Devils in the Meier trade, forward Fabian Zetterlund and defensemen Nikita Okhotiuk, have become mainstays on the team’s roster. 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 being dealt to the Sharks.
“It’s happening quickly. I 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 in place of Mackenzie Blackwood, who was drafted by the Devils in 2015 and was 65-57-18 over five seasons from 2018-2023.
Blackwood didn’t necessarily feel nostalgic upon returning to Newark.
“It’s just another game, really,” Blackwood said before Friday’s game. “Obviously I’ve spent a lot of time here, so it’ll be good to see some of the guys I’ve played with before. But other than that, it will probably be interesting for me to see the rink from the other side.