Sharks 3, Devils 1
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Mike Vernon stopped 33 shots as the San Jose Sharks, who have allowed two goals or fewer in 11 of their last 18 games, defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1 Monday.
Jeff Friesen, Patrick Marleau and Stephane Matteau scored for the Sharks, who continued their quest to reach .500 for the first time since the opening weekend of the season.
The Sharks, who went winless in their first eight games this season, improved to 15-18-11 with the victory. San Jose is undefeated in seven of its last eight games.
Brian Rolston scored for New Jersey, which has lost four of its last five games. The game was the first for the Devils on a three-game West Coast trip.
Friesen opened the scoring with his team-leading 12th goal midway through the first period on a power play. Marco Sturm got the rebound of his own shot and passed it to a wide-open Friesen at the corner of the net.
The Devils tied the game three minutes into the second period on Rolston’s 12th goal, also on a power play. Rolston’s shot from just inside the blue line hit the post, then deflected back into the net off Vernon’s left leg.
John Madden, who was playing in his second NHL game and has spent most of this season with Albany of the American Hockey League, got an assist on Rolston’s goal for his first NHL point.
Marleau broke the tie with a backhander past Martin Brodeur two minutes later. Owen Nolan got an assist on the goal, giving him 10 points in his last 11 games after totaling just six points in his first 32 games this season.
Matteau backhanded a loose puck past a prone Brodeur with 2:52 remaining in the third period to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead. Matteau had just one goal until Jan. 11, but has three goals in his last four games.