The San Jose Sharks might’ve suffered more than just a loss to New Jersey on Monday evening.
Forward Tommy Wingels and defenseman Justin Braun both left the game with upper-body injuries and will be “out for a while,” per head coach Todd McLellan (via CSN Bay Area).
The losses are significant. Braun sits third on the team in average time on ice per game (20:50) and second among all Sharks defensemen in assists, with 18. Wingels, tied for third in goals (with 11), also brought a key physical element to the team — he leads the club in hits, with 174, a total that puts him third in the NHL behind the Islanders’ dynamic duo of Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck.
The losses couldn’t come at a worse time for San Jose, either. The club hasn’t played well in January, losing five of nine, and two of those losses were embarrassing 7-2 blowouts at the hands of St. Louis. San Jose also won just once in four tries at the SAP Center, and that’s something it’ll need to turn around — beginning Wednesday, the Sharks have a three-game homestand against Western Conference elites in Los Angeles, Anaheim and Chicago.
On a night when the San Jose Sharks needed a win to keep pace with their division rivals, Devils goaltender Cory Schneider to hand New Jersey a 5-2 victory.
Schneider turned aside 34 of 36 shots, including 18 in the third period to earn his 16th victory of the season. Although the Devils ended up winning this one by a comfortable margin, Schneider had to defend in what was a tight contest for most of the night.
He was beaten early in the contest by Joe Pavelski as San Jose got on board first:
The Devils bounced back late in the period from a pair of unlikely sources though as Jordin Tootoo and Steve Bernier each found the back of the net. Sharks forward Matt Nieto tied the game early in the second frame before Mike Cammalleri netted what proved to be the game-winning goal:
Scott Gomez ended up with two assists against his former team, giving him 16 points in 23 games with New Jersey in 2014-15. Devils forward Jacob Josefson was playing for the first time since Dec. 27 and he only got 10:42 minutes on the ice, but he made the most of it with an assist and a shorthanded marker.
With this loss and Vancouver’s victory over Florida, San Jose has conceded second place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks also saw their edge on Calgary and Los Angeles shrink as the Flames earned a 2-1 overtime win against the Kings.
All the latest from the blue paint…
Dubnyk looks to stay perfect
The Minnesota Wild will stick with Devan Dubnyk when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Xcel.
Dubnyk, who won his first two stars for the Wild since coming over in a trade from Arizona, began his time in Minnesota by shutting out Buffalo, then stopped 25 of 26 shots in a 3-1 win over his old Coyotes teammates Saturday.
With that win, Dubnyk continued what’s been a stellar bounce-back season and now sits at 11-5-2 on the year, with a 2.49 GAA and .921 save percentage.
For Columbus, Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal.
‘Canes at Leafs: Anton Khudobin vs. Jonathan Bernier
Canucks at Panthers: Ryan Miller likely for Vancouver, Roberto Luongo likely for Florida.
Avs at Blues: Semyon Varlamov vs. Brian Elliott
Flames at Kings: Joni Ortio for Calgary, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.
Devils at Sharks: Cory Schneider for New Jersey, Alex Stalock likely for San Jose.
All the latest from the blue paint…
Dubnyk gets a crack at his former team
After being dealt by Arizona to Minnesota on Wednesday, Devan Dubnyk will get a shot at his former team Saturday night when the Wild play host to the Coyotes. Dubnyk made 18 saves in a shutout win over the Buffalo Sabres Thursday – his Wild debut. The 28-year-old made 19 appearances for the Coyotes this season going 9-5-2 while posting a 2.72 G.A.A. and a .916 save percentage.
Mike Smith is expected to make the start for the Coyotes.
Blue Jackets at Bruins: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Tuukka Rask
Maple Leafs at Blues: Jonathan Bernier vs. Brian Elliott
Oilers at Panthers: Viktor Fasth vs. Roberto Luongo
Avalanche at Lightning: Semyon Varlamov vs. Ben Bishop
Predators at Red Wings: Carter Hutton vs. Petr Mrazek
Hurricanes at Senators: Anton Khudobin vs. Craig Anderson
Islanders at Canadiens: Jaroslav Halak vs. Dustin Tokarski
Flyers at Sabres: Rob Zepp vs. Michal Neuvirth
Captials at Stars: Justin Peters vs. Kari Lehtonen
Ducks at Kings: Frederik Andersen vs. Jonathan Quick
Flames at Sharks: Joni Ortio vs. Antti Niemi
San Jose scored twice in an 11 second span of the first period and Tommy Wingels added an empty netter in the third as the Sharks defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 Thursday night.
Tyler Kennedy and Patrick Marleau scored before the midway mark helping the Sharks jump out to a 2-0 lead.
Defenseman Justin Braun had two assists in the win.
Roman Polak had the lone Leafs goal.
Toronto has now lost five straight on the road and have one win in their last seven games. The Leafs scored just one goal in three games in California over the last four days.
James Reimer made 39 saves in the loss while Antti Niemi stopped 24 shots in the win.