Feb. 11, 2011BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHL PAGE NHL SCOREBOARD
NEWARK The New Jersey Devils have been doing it for what seems like forever.Hang back. Dont take too many chances. Play sound positional hockey. And most of all, capitalize on the other team's mistakes.Thats just what they did to San Jose on Friday night at the Prudential Center, scoring a pair of goals in the third period to end the Sharks five-game winning streak, 2-1.REWIND: Sharks rally to keep roadie rolling, beat Columbus
I talked to the team and told them that the little things would add up at the end of the night, said Todd McLellan.He proved to be prophetic, since the little things to which hes referring are a pair of ill-timed penalties and a lost defensive zone faceoff.After two-plus action impaired periods, Patrick Marleau scored the first goal of the game on a rebound at 6:08 of the third. The Devils Henrik Tallinder was whistled for a hook shortly after, and the Sharks were in prime position to take control.But consecutive penalties to Joe Thornton and Logan Couture instead gave New Jersey the man advantage, and Brian Rolstons one-timer at 9:12 past the glove of Antti Niemi knotted the score.NHL Standings NHL Stats
I just thought I got his stick, to be honest with you, said Thornton of the penalty. I dont know about that call. Thats the way they see it sometimes.Were up by one with seven or eight minutes to go and going on the power play and get penalized, so thats not a very good thing, said McLellan.Later, Couture lost a faceoff to Travis Zajac, and the puck ended up on the stick of Ilya Kovalchuk. The Russian sniper quickly wheeled around in the faceoff circle and fired one past Niemi with 3:59 left in regulation.It proved to be the difference, as the resurgent Devils improved to 12-1-3 in their last 16 games.Its disappointing, said Couture, who along with linemates Ryane Clowe and Kyle Wellwood generated the best scoring chances of the night for San Jose. Im disappointed to take that penalty, and on that second goal, I lost the faceoff. Thats the way this game goes. The players on that team can strike quickly and they showed it to us tonight. That was a tough game to lose.It looked early on like San Jose would be able to take advantage of the Devils having tired legs, as New Jersey played an overtime game the night before. While the Devils were battling for a 2-1 win over Toronto, the Sharks were enjoying a complete day off the ice in the midst of their season-long seven-game road trip.San Jose registered nine of the first 10 shots of the game and held a distinct territorial advantage in the first period, but was unable to beat Johan Hedberg.They didnt have their legs right away. We would have liked to get one or two in the first and get on top of them, said Couture. Im sure they were happy after the first to still be tied.The second period it was more of the same, but Hedberg kept San Jose at bay.In his best save of the night, Hedberg robbed Clowe on a three-on-two rush on a feed from Wellwood. The normal backup to Martin Brodeur, Hedberg threw his left pad in front of Clowes redirection attempt, and kept it there as Clowe tried to whack in the rebound about five minutes into the second.Brodeur missed his third straight game with a sprained knee.Kovalchuk, who was Exhibit 1A in the Devils horrifying start to the regular season, finally appears to be earning his gigantic, 100 million contract. It was the second consecutive night in which he scored a game-winning goal on a perfectly placed wrist shot.No one was blaming Niemi for getting seemingly handcuffed by the quick turn-around laser from one of the pure goal-scorers in the NHL.He can score from those situations, said McLellan.The frantic finish to the game helped to salvage some excitement after a monotonous first two frames. There wasnt even a penalty called until Rolston was sent off for interference at 18:43 of the second.The Sharks were unable to score on that power play, though, and didnt generate enough offense against one of the more defensively responsible teams in the NHL.All they need to win games right now is two goals, said Thornton.At least this game, anyway.