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Sharks 2, Devils 1

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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi outdueled his New Jersey counterpart Martin Brodeur on Saturday night as the Sharks chalked up a hard-earned 2-1 win over the Devils.

Niemi stopped 18 of 19 shots, including one late beauty to rob center Travis Zajac with 2:28 left as San Jose improved to 7-1-1 against Eastern Conference opponents.

Brodeur, who was shaken up late when struck in the back of his mask on a shot by right winger Brent Burns, displayed his Hall of Fame form with 28 saves.

The Sharks won for the fifth time in six tries while the Devils saw their three-game winning streak snapped.

Held to only 10 shots through the first two periods, the Devils broke through in the third to cut San Jose's lead to 2-1 with one second left on their first power play of the game. Left winger Patrik Elias's low wrister from the far edge of the right circle beat a screened Niemi at 8:10.

Sharks defenseman Justin Braun was in front battling New Jersey right winger Steve Bernier, the ex-Shark who put New Jersey on the power play by drawing a tripping penalty on San Jose defenseman Jason Demers.

The Sharks were sharp in the opening period, scoring the only two goals, earning the only power play, dictating play and mounting a 9-3 edge in shots.

Defenseman Scott Hannan scored his third goal of the season at 4:25 when his slap shot from the left point seemed to surprise Brodeur, who watched the puck ramp up off of his goal stick under the crossbar. It's Hannan's best goal output since scoring four in 2006-07, also with San Jose.

The Sharks' third line capped a nice cycle when left winger Martin Havlat threw what appeared to be a blind pass from behind the net on the tape of right winger Tyler Kennedy, who from the right circle beat Brodeur stick side for his third goal of the season at 14:47.

Sharks defenseman Brent Burns had a strong period during his second game back after missing 13 due to injury. Burns had a hard check on New Jersey defenseman Adam Larson to force a turnover leading to San Jose's first goal. And he drew a hooking penalty from Devils defenseman Andy Greene late in the period.

Missed opportunities were the story of a scoreless middle period.

Niemi came up large on several occasions. First he denied center Dainius Zubrus on a redirect at 3:52, did likewise to center Travis Zajac at 7:29 and thwarted right winger Michael Ryder from the slot in the second half of the period to keep the visitors at bay.

The Sharks, meanwhile, came up with two failures on the power play. They didn't manage a shot of a carry-over advantage from the first period, and put three shots on Brodeur after Burns drew his second minor of the game -- a trip from New Jersey defenseman Marek Zidlicky at 12:29.

The Devils lost the services of center Stephen Gionta, who reinjured his right ankle during his fifth shift of the opening period.

NOTES: New Jersey's 41-year-old RW Jaromir Jagr joked following the morning skate that he would have to try and record his first hit of the season against fellow Czech native and Sharks rookie RW Tomas Hertl, who named Jagr as his childhood idol. Jagr likened Hertl's situation to playing with Sharks C Joe Thornton to his breaking into the league alongside Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux. "He's playing with Joe, so he can learn a lot from him," Jagr said. "If he had a chance to learn something, that's the guy. Like I had Mario, he's got Joe." ... C Jacob Josefson and RW Damien Brunner were back in New Jersey's lineup in place of Mattias Tedenby and Andrei Lokitonov, who were healthy scratches. ... RW Ryane Clowe (head), D Bryce Salvador (fractured foot) and D Anton Volchenkov (leg) remain out for New Jersey. ... RW Raffi Torres (right ACL surgery) and RW Adam Burish (back surgery) continue to rehab for San Jose. ... RW Matt Nieto, C Andrew Desjardins and D Matt Irwin were healthy scratches for the Sharks.
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