Timo Meier, Noah Gregor in the Sharks’ victory over the New Jersey Devils

Coach Bob Boughner feels the challenges the Sharks have faced through the first quarter of the season have been as significant as anyone else in the NHL.

The Sharks experienced a COVID-19 outbreak in late October and early November – and took seven players out of the ranks – and right now they are already on their third five-game roadtrip of the season.

So far, they have handled it all as well as one might expect.

Noah Gregor had a goal and an assist, and James Reimer made 31 saves as the Sharks used a strong second period to beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Tuesday for their fourth win in their last five games.

In the second period, Alexander Barabanov had assists on goals by Jake Middleton and Erik Karlsson, and Timo Meier scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season as the Sharks improved to 2-0-0 on their five-game roadtrip planned. to continue Thursday at the UBS Arena against the New York Islanders.

The Sharks have now won seven out of 12 games away from the SAP Center.

“I think we’ve found different ways to win,” Boughner said Tuesday morning. “Sometimes when we’re not at our best, we find ways to get points, whether it’s goalkeepers or special teams or someone who goes up, I think it’s a slightly different mindset than we had last year.

“I think we have handled adversity well. There are things that happen during the season, COVID, we have had heavy travels. I think our first quarter of the season can be just as tough as any other in this league. ”

Gregor opened the scoring to 4:26 in the first period.

Nick Bonino won a draw in the Devils’ zone back to Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who slid the puck over along the blue line to defensive partner Radim Simek more towards the middle of the ice. Simek’s shot was stopped by New Jersey goalkeeper Mackenzie Blackwood, but Gregor went to the net, got the loose puck and chipped it past the Devils goalkeeper for his first goal of the season.

Gregor started the game in line with Bonino and Jonah Gadjovich as his goal was the fourth from a player on one of the Sharks’ two bottom lines in the last five games.

In the second period, after Middleton’s goal of the 4:14 mark, the Sharks scored twice in 41 seconds to take control.

Meier took a nice pass from Logan Couture behind the net and hit Blackwood with a wrist shot of 10:49.

On the next shift, Barabanov used a bit of patience in the Devils before finding Karlsson with a nail through the gap. Karlsson then beat Blackwood for his fourth season at 11:30 p.m.

New Jersey got goals from Tomas Tatar and Jesper Bratt in the third period to reduce the Sharks’ lead to 4-2. But Meier scored an empty goal with 3:01 left in regular time to secure the victory.

The Sharks opened the road trip with a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Reimer made 29 saves for his first shutout of the season and is now 4-3-0 on the road this year.

After Thursday’s game, which may need to be rescheduled due to Islanders’ own COVID issues, the Sharks play the New York Rangers on Friday and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.

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