Devils whipped by Sharks in Jack Hughes’ return to lineup



The Devils had no answers for the San Jose Shark’s top gun.

Sharks’ leading scorer Timo Meier scored twice, James Reimer made 32 saves and San Jose defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Tuesday night at Prudential Center in Newark, spoiling Jack Hughes’ return.

Noah Gregor, Jacob Middleton and Erik Karlsson also scored for the Sharks, who have started their five-game road trip at 2-0.

Tomas Tatar and Jesper Bratt scored for the Devils, and Mackenzie Blackwood had 26 saves.

Gregor opened the scoring at 4:26 of the first, beating Blackwood for his first goal of the season. Radim Simek and Marc-Edouard Vlasic assisted.

Middleton made it 2-0 at 4:14 of the second period with his second goal this season, with assists going to Gregor and Alexander Barabanov.

Meier poured it on to make it 3-0 midway through the second on the power play, and Karlsson followed not long after to make it 4-0 San Jose.

Jacob Middleton scores a goal on Mackenzie Blackwood during the Devils' 5-2 loss to the Sharks.
Jacob Middleton scores a goal on Mackenzie Blackwood during the Devils’ 5-2 loss to the Sharks.

Despite having Hughes back in the lineup for the first time since the second game of the season, the Devils offered a minimal offensive attack against the Sharks until the third period.

Tatar ruined Reimer’s shutout bid with his fourth goal at 9:12 of the third. Pavel Zacha and Devils captain Nico Hischier assisted, the 100th career assist for the 22-year-old.

Bratt then made it a 4-2 game with his sixth goal at 12:49, and Andreas Johnsson had the lone assist.

Meier’s second goal of the game (his team-leading 11th goal of the season) came with three minutes left in the third.

The Devils announced earlier Tuesday that the 20-year-old Hughes agreed to an eight-year, $64 million contract extension that starts next season after his three-year entry level pact expires. Hughes was the first overall pick by the Devils in the 2019 draft. He missed 17 games after suffering a shoulder injury on Oct. 19 against Seattle.


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