New Jersey
Devils
49-24-9
San Jose
Sharks
51-26-5

24 SOG
27 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
NJD
SJS
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Saturday, 11.25.2006 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

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New Jersey Devils vs. San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks are trying to win a season-high fifth straight game at home. The road weary New Jersey Devils don't appear poised to stand in their way.

The Sharks try to extend their winning streak at HP Pavilion on Saturday when they host the Devils in the first meeting between the teams since in more than three years.

After losing 5-0 at Anaheim Tuesday for its first shutout defeat of the season, San Jose (16-7-0) returned home to beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 on Wednesday - its fourth consecutive win at HP Pavilion.

"We've done a good job all year rebounding from bad games, and this is something we can learn from," said Sharks center Joe Thornton, who had a goal and two assists.

San Jose has won seven of its last nine games overall.

The Sharks are outscoring their opponents 34-19 at home this season and have scored six goals in each of their last two games there. Patrick Marleau scored his team-leading 13th goal and added two assists Wednesday. Rookies Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Pavelski also recorded their first NHL goals.

The Sharks converted 2 of 5 power-play opportunities in the win and have capitalized on 29 of 119 chances (24.4 percent) this season. Their penalty-killing unit has also excelled, especially at home where the Sharks have thwarted 41 of 43 opponent power-play opportunities.

Vesa Toskala stopped 24 shots Wednesday, but he has been alternating starts with Evgeni Nabokov. If that trend continues, Nabokov will face the Devils, who he is 1-3 against with a 3.41 goals-against average in four career starts.

New Jersey (12-8-1) has struggled on the power play away from home, converting just 5 of 60 chances (8.3 percent). Brian Gionta did score one of those goals Friday, but the Devils still fell 4-2 to the Anaheim Ducks in the teams' second meeting since the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals.

New Jersey dropped to 4-7 on the road - its seven regulation road losses are the second-most in the Eastern Conference - and fell to 1-2 on its current five-game trip. The Devils are averaging 1.91 goals on the road this year and have been held to two or fewer in 10 straight games away from home.

They're trying to avoid matching an overall season-high three-game losing streak following a 6-1 stretch. Goaltender Martin Brodeur is 8-5 with two ties and a 2.40 GAA in 15 career starts against the Sharks, but will have to slow their potent offense.

Thornton has a five-game points streak against New Jersey and a total of 13 goals and 18 assists in 27 career games versus the Devils. Johnathan Cheechoo - the NHL's leading scorer a season ago - was placed on injured reserve Wednesday because of a leg injury, with the move retroactive to Nov. 16. He is eligible to return Saturday, but his status is uncertain.

Milan Michalek, San Jose's second-leading scorer, has also been sidelined with an arm injury.

The Devils, meanwhile, could be without right wing Cam Janssen, who hurt his right shoulder in a fight with Anaheim's George Parros on Friday and missed the rest of the game.

"They took X-rays and everything was fine," Janssen said after the game. "It really doesn't hurt right now. During the fight it did, but when they popped it back in it felt great. I mean, I look like a fool with this sling on. I'll probably have to go back to Jersey and get an MRI, so I'm just going to have to suck it up and then I'll be back."

The Devils have won four straight matchups with the Sharks. Jamie Langenbrunner scored in overtime to lift the Devils to a 3-2 victory in the last meeting, on Nov. 5, 2003.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Nov 25 '06NJD 0 at SJS 2J. Thornton
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
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