NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Mackenzie Blackwood made 36 saves in winning his fifth straight start and the New Jersey Devils beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in a matchup of struggling franchises on Thursday night.
Defenseman P.K. Subban scored the winner on a power play early in the third period. Jesper Bratt had the other New Jersey goal. Nikita Gusev had assists on both.
Defenseman Tim Heed scored for San Jose in the opener of its four-game trip. Martin Jones had 23 saves, including a fantastic stop with the shaft of his stuck on Gusev when the Sharks were playing two men short in the second period.
Subban’s seventh goal of the season came on a shot from above the right circle that beat a screened Jones and broke a 1-all tie at 2:56. It came with the league’s best penalty kill unit just 10 seconds away from killing off its fifth straight penalty.
Blackwood preserved the win with stops on Radim Simek and Patrick Marleau in close in the waning minutes. He is 6-0-1 in his last seven starts and 20-12-7 on a team that has 23 wins for the season.
The Devils tied the game 1-all late in the second period on a breakaway goal by Bratt. The Swede took a pass from Pavel Zacha behind the defense and beat Jones with a neat backhand-forehand move at 16:15.
Heed had given the Shark the lead 7:22 after the opening faceoff with his first goal of the season and first in 44 games dating to almost a year ago. Devils forward Kevin Rooney appeared to tip the point shot past Blackwood.
NOTES: Devils scratched D Will Butcher (lower body) and F Nicholas Merkley (eye). They were hurt against the Blues on Tuesday. … G Cory Schneider and D Dakota Mermis were recalled from Binghamton (AHL). … Sharks F Evander Kane finished his three-game suspension. … Sharks and Devils will play again in San Jose next Thursday.
Sharks: At Rangers on Saturday in second-game of a trip through the New York City metropolitan area and Philadelphia.
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