NEWARK – The Sharks salvaged the final game of their road trip on Sunday at Prudential Center, due in large part to their bearded duo.
Brent Burns scored twice and Joe Thornton added a goal and an assist, as San Jose downed the Devils, 4-1. The Sharks snapped a season-long four-game losing streak, after dropping games in Buffalo, Boston and Philadelphia to start the four-game trip.
The Sharks scored three consecutive goals in less than nine minutes in the second period to take a 3-1 lead.
The first two came from Burns, on similar looking shots. After keeping a rolling puck in at the blue line, the defenseman picked the top corner from high in the zone, tying the game at 1-1 at 2:27 of the middle frame.
A little more than five minutes later, Burns snuck another shot from even higher in the zone inside the post at 7:46, for his 24th goal of the year.
Thornton added to the lead at 11:22, zipping in a wrister. It was his second goal in the last three games, after he scored his first in a manned net in Boston on Thursday.
Martin Jones was playing his first game since getting pulled on Thursday in Boston, and entered having given up seven goals on his last 23 shots faced. He allowed a goal on the first shot he saw, but shut the Devils down after that.
Tomas Hertl’s empty net goal with 1:24 left in regulation sealed the San Jose victory. The Sharks now have a five-point lead on second place Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
New Jersey, playing in its first game after its bye week, lost for the first time in five games (3-1-1).
The Sharks held a 19-3 edge in shots in the first period, but the Devils took a 1-0 lead at 11:42 on their first shot. P.A. Parenteau deposited a short pass through the slot from Taylor Hall, after Jacob Josefsen pressured Brenden Dillon into a turnover behind the net.
San Jose went 0-for-4 in the first period on the power play, including a lengthy two-man advantage.
The Sharks welcomed Logan Couture back into the lineup after the center was a late scratch on Saturday in Philadelphia with an upper body injury.
San Jose also won the first meeting between the teams on Nov. 21 at home, 4-0. This was their final road game of the season in an Eastern Conference city.
Neither team scored a special teams goal, as the previously effective Sharks went 0-for-6 and Devils 0-for-2.
The Sharks are having particular trouble on five-on-three advantages lately. They didn’t score on a one minute and 42 second two-man advantage on Sunday, and failed on Feb. 4 against Arizona on a two-man advantage that lasted a little more than two minutes.
Jones made 21 saves in improving to 3-1-0 all-time against New Jersey. His best sequence came late in the second period, when he denied Hall with 1:40 to go, and turned away a redirection by a cutting Stefan Noesen with 1:08 left, preserving the Sharks’ 3-1 lead.
Schneider was impressive early, but took the loss with three goals allowed on 37 shots. He’s just 4-6-2 in his career against San Jose.
Marcus Sorensen came out of the lineup to make way for Couture.
Patrick Marleau saw a nine-game point streak come to an end.
The Sharks have three games remaining before the bye week starting with the Panthers, who beat them in overtime on Nov. 3, 4-3. San Jose visits Arizona next Saturday, and hosts the Bruins next Sunday before five mandatory days off from Feb. 20-24.