Sunday, March 2, 2014

Nieto, Pavelski, Stalock Lead Sharks over Devils

Former Boston University forward Matt Nieto scored the game-winner in the third period as the San Jose Sharks tallied three unanswered goals to top the New Jersey Devils, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon in an NHL contest at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Nieto scored 6:20 into the final frame, one-timing home a pass from fellow former NCAA skater Joe Pavelski (Wisconsin), who assisted on both the tying and winning goals, to break a 2-2 tie. Alex Stalock (Minnesota-Duluth) had 21 saves for the Sharks (39-17-6) to personally improve to 10-4 on the season.

Jon Merrill (Michigan) assisted on New Jersey's second goal while Cory Schneider (Boston College) had 18 stops for the host Devils (26-23-13), who went 0-for-4 on the power play. The loss also snapped New Jersey's two-game post-Olympics winning streak.

After Logan Couture gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead off a rebound to Schneider's left at 3:26 of the second period, Adam Henrique brought the Devils back even 77 seconds later when he redirected home a crossing feed from the right wing by Steve Bernier. New Jersey took a 2-1 lead when Patrik Elias tipped home Merrill's shot from the left point at 14:22, but Raffi Torres tied it up again for San Jose at 15:54 when he converted a 2-on-1 break with Pavelski.

Following Nieto's heroics, Patrick Marleau picked off a pass and wristed a shot past Schneider with 2:25 remaining in regulation to close out the scoring. It was Marleau's 25th goal of the 2013-14 campaign, the ninth time he has hit that mark in his NHL career, all with the Sharks.

New Jersey outshot San Jose, 23-22, on the afternoon, and the Devils will now host Detroit on Tuesday night in the first meeting of a home-and-home series. The Sharks, who completed a three-game road trip with two wins following Sunday's contest, will entertain Carolina that same evening.

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