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Sharks wrap up road trip against Devils

by Brian Hunter

SHARKS (38-17-6) at DEVILS (26-22-13)


Last 10: San Jose 5-5-0; New Jersey 5-3-2

Season series: This is the second and final game between the San Jose Sharks and New Jersey Devils. Scott Hannan and Tyler Kennedy scored first-period goals and the Sharks held on for a 2-1 win in San Jose on Nov. 23.

Big story: This will be the third game in four days for each team, as the grind toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs continues. Cory Schneider will start for the Devils one day after Martin Brodeur made his first appearance since Jan. 26 and stopped 18 shots for his 683rd career win. Jaromir Jagr also scored his 700th NHL goal in the 6-1 rout of the New York Islanders.

Team Scope:

Sharks: Forward Raffi Torres scored twice in his season debut Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers, yet found himself a scratch the following night against the Buffalo Sabres because coach Todd McLellan wanted to play it safe and not play Torres in a back-to-back situation right off the bat after he missed the first 59 games recovering from ACL surgery.

Torres will be in the lineup Sunday; the big question is who starts in goal? Alex Stalock has a 1.77 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in 17 appearances after beating the Flyers. Antti Niemi started and gave up three goals on 19 shots -- all to his blocker side -- in a 4-2 loss to the Sabres.

"I thought I felt good the whole week, along with everything, I felt good," Niemi said afterward. "I'm not sure why I got beat blocker side tonight."

Devils: Still ranked in the bottom third of the League in goal scoring, New Jersey has nevertheless come out clicking on all cylinders in two games since the Olympic break. The Devils have scored 11 goals in wins against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Islanders, with six of those coming via the power play.

Jagr's goal, which was also his all-time best 123rd career game-winning goal, came sandwiched around tallies by Adam Henrique and Ryane Clowe with the man advantage. The final three goals all came courtesy of defensemen (Marek Zidlicky, Mark Fayne and Eric Gelinas), giving the Devils 28 goals this season from their blue line.

"We have to make sure we play the same way," Jagr said. "It's not going to be like that every night, but it's nice to have some games where you have a lead 3-0 or 4-1 going into the third period. It's very special because you don't have to change your game, you just play your game."

Who's hot: Sharks forward Patrick Marleau has two goals and two assists during a three-game point streak. … Henrique has three goals in two games since the break, while Jagr and Clowe have also scored in consecutive games for the Devils. Patrik Elias has a goal and four assists over that span. Schneider has given up two goals or fewer in 14 of his past 15 starts.

Injury report: San Jose forward Tomas Hertl (knee) began skating in the past week, but there is no timetable for his return. He remains on injured reserve, along with defenseman Brad Stuart (upper body). … New Jersey defenseman Bryce Salvador (bruised collarbone) and forward Damien Brunner (charley horse) missed the game Saturday in New York. They're day-to-day.

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