SAN JOSE – Headed into Monday night, no NHL team had been on the road this season more than the dozen games played by San Jose. That peripatetic schedule has likely played a role in the Sharks’ middling start to the season.
Now, though, they’ll get a chance at home to make up some points that they’ve left on the table. They got two on Monday in the first of a five-game homestand, as the Sharks comfortably defeated the Devils at SAP Center, 4-0.
Chris Tierney, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Brent Burns were the goal scorers, while Martin Jones made 26 saves to record his second shutout.
The Sharks snapped a three-game losing streak (0-2-1), improving to 5-2 at home. New Jersey lost its third in a row in regulation, getting swept by the three California clubs.
A shorthanded goal got the Sharks on the board. An errant point shot by Jacob Josefson ricocheted all the way out to Tierney, who charged ahead on a two-on-one. Tierney took the shot himself, cleanly beating Keith Kincaid just 1:59 into the game for his long awaited first goal of the season.
Marleau, looking rejuvenated on the top line, increased it to 2-0. Joe Pavelski pushed the puck towards the crease, defenseman Damon Severson fell down leaving Marleau alone in front, and the Sharks forward nailed the post before slapping in the airborne rebound at 6:43.
The Sharks increased their lead with the only goal of the second period. On a power play, Joe Thornton’s attempted pass deflected off of Andy Greene’s skate to the stick of Couture, who had all kinds of room to fire home his fifth of the season at 10:33.
Burns got credit for the Sharks’ fourth goal in the final frame. The defenseman’s wrist shot from the circle was too hot for Kincaid to handle, and Kyle Quincey inadvertently played the puck off of his skates before swiping it over the line at 7:38.
Center Danny O’Regan made his NHL debut, centering the fourth line. The 22-year-old is tied for the AHL Barracuda team lead with 11 points (5g, 6a).
The Sharks are 7-3 in their last 10 games against the Devils. They visit New Jersey on Feb. 12.
The Sharks finished 1-for-5 on the power play, scoring just their second power play goal in the last eight games. Tierney’s goal was the Sharks’ first shorthanded this season.
New Jersey was 0-for-3, and is now a miserable 0-for-29 in its last nine games.
Jones has now started 17 of the Sharks’ first 19 games. His most significant stop came in the first period, when he denied Beau Bennett after Burns was caught cheating ahead in the neutral zone.
Kincaid got the start over Cory Schneider, after shutting out the Sharks at SAP Center last season with 30 saves. He had no such luck this time, allowing four goals on 41 shots and taking his first regulation loss of the season in four starts (2-1-1).
Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced that Tomas Hertl would be out indefinitely with a right knee injury. The 23-year-old was scheduled to undergo a “minor procedure” on Tuesday.
Thornton recorded his 900th point with the Sharks with the assist on Couture’s goal. He is now tied with Brendan Shanahan for 25th all-time in the NHL with 1,354 points.
Kevin Labanc was scratched for the first time, after playing in the previous six games.
The Sharks have a busy week ahead, hosting the Blackhawks on Wednesday, Islanders on Friday and Ducks on Saturday. The homestand concludes with the Coyotes next Tuesday, Nov. 29.