New Jersey scored on its 10th and 11th shots of the night, which came precisely 18 minutes and 21 seconds apart from one another and sandwiched 12 Sharks shots on goal. That's the kind of night it was for San Jose, which found itself in the same shoes the Calgary Flames must have been wearing on Monday night.
San Jose struggled to break down the Devils slow, tight style of play in the first period and didn't really seem to find its footing until after New Jersey scored. From there, the Sharks looked likely to score just about all night. Pucks didn't settle, perfect passes were whiffed on and rebounds were scooped out of the New Jersey crease. It was just one of those nights where nothing seemed to go quite right for the Sharks.
Brent Burns had a wide open net to shoot at on the power play late in the third period but couldn't quite settle the puck and sent it wide. With under five minutes to play, it seemed like the Sharks just weren't going to find a tally against Kinkaid.
New Jersey opened the scoring three minutes into the second period as Devante Smith-Pelly blasted a shot through a screen and past Martin Jones' glove hand. From there, the Sharks opened things up and created a few really nice scoring chances. Logan Couture and Matt Nieto combined for one of San Jose's best chances of the night to that point, but the Sharks couldn't find that elusive first goal.
The Devils didn't have another shot on goal for the remainder of the second period while San Jose poured on the pressure. While the Sharks didn't find the back of the net, their play looked a lot more like the team we've become accustomed to seeing than the one that snuck its way through the Alberta road trip. Not finishing on chances is a problem, of course, but San Jose certainly didn't struggle to create chances.
Early in the third period, with the Zubrus moved up to the top line against his former team, the Sharks were trapped in their own zone and made a series of poor decisions and sloppy plays that ended up with the puck in the back of the net. Travis Zajac picked up his 11th of the season and San Jose found itself in a 2-0 hole with most of the third period remaining.
New Jersey scored its third on an empty net.
Sharks goals (assists): :(
Fear the Fin's Three Stars
1) Keith Kinkaid
2) Travis Zajac
3) Logan Couture