Kovalchuk Nets Winner For Devils

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Devils 2, Sharks 1

Newark, NJ (Sports Network) – Ilya Kovalchuk had the game-winner for the second night in a row as the New Jersey Devils took a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at Prudential Center.

In Thursday’s game against the Maple Leafs, Kovalchuk put home the winner with 24 seconds left in overtime and he did it with 3:59 left in the third on Friday to help the Devils win a fourth straight game.

Brian Rolston tied the game on the power play 9:12 into the third, while Johan Hedberg made 31 stops for the Devils, who are 12-1-2 over their last 15 games.

Patrick Marleau scored the lone goal and Antti Niemi made 21 stops for the Sharks, who had a season-high five-game winning streak stopped.

All of the scoring happened in the third period as the Sharks took the initial lead in the frame when a shot from Niclas Wallin at the left point was stopped and Marleau banged home the rebound from the right side 6:08 in.

New Jersey, though, tied the game three minutes later on a 4-on-3 power play as a pass from Kovalchuk at the outside left circle went to the high slot where Rolston used a big one-timer to beat Niemi.

In a repeat of Thursday, Kovalchuk again provided the heroics as the Devils won a faceoff at the right circle and his turnaround shot from the outside squeezed between the pads of Niemi.

Torrey Mitchell was called for a high-sticking double minor for fouling Dainius Zubrus with 2:19 to play and New Jersey was able to kill off the clock for the win.

Hedberg stopped 24 shots over the first 40 minutes while Niemi was only tested 11 times in that span.

The Devils have off until next Wednesday when they will host Carolina…San Jose continues its seven-game road trip at Florida on Sunday…New Jersey has won four of the last five aginast San Jose. Also, the Sharks have lost five straight in the Garden State and haven’t won there since Nov. 14, 2000.

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San Jose Sharks at New Jersey Devils: Leach To Face Former Team

It's been an interesting 48 hours for defenseman Jay Leach.

On Wednesday, Leach was traded to the New Jersey Devils' minor league affiliate, the Albany Devils, with Steven Zalewski for Mike Swift and Patrick Davis.

Only a day later, he'll face his former employer.

Leach and the Devils (21-30-4) will look to stay hot against the San Jose Sharks (30-19-6) tonight at the Prudential Center.

Both teams enter tonight's matchup on second-half surges. San Jose, currently on a 9-0-1 run, sits tied with the Dallas Stars atop the Pacific Division. The Sharks, searching for their sixth straight win, haven't allowed more than three goals during their unbeaten streak.

The Devils re-discovered their winning ways in the second half in the season. After winning just 10 games during the first three months, New Jersey is 11-1-2 in their last 13 games. They've re-inserted themselves into the playoff race, but sit 13 points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the eighth seed.

The Sharks defeated the Devils, 5-2, on Oct. 27 in San Jose. In that game, the line of Danny Heatley, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau abused New Jersey, collecting a total of 13 points. Thornton recorded a hat trick before the end of the second period, and the Devils never stood a chance.

Ilya Kovalchuk, who has seven points in his last six games, was held scoreless in that contest.

Tonight's game marks the seventh game in 11 nights for New Jersey.

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