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Sharks try to continue East feast, visit red-hot Devils

Since 2015-16, no Western Conference team has beaten its rivals in the East more often than the San Jose Sharks.

That bodes well for San Jose as it kicks off a five-game east coast road trip Friday night with a clash against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

"We have five games on the road and we have to take a minimum of like eight points," Sharks center Tomas Hertl confidently told the San Jose Mercury News.

The Sharks (2-3-0) have 43 wins in the last two-plus seasons against Eastern Conference teams, including Tuesday's impressive 5-2 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens which capped a season-opening five-game homestand.

Logan Couture sparked Tuesday's victory with a season-high four-point effort that featured his second and third goals of the young season.

Couture was one of four Sharks to record multiple points in the game. Veteran center Joe Thornton, who started slowly this season coming off knee surgery, was one of the others, finishing with a goal and an assist.

"We know what we are capable of, and there's still a lot more we need to do, but (Tuesday) was a step in the right direction" Sharks captain Joe Pavelski told reporters. "We didn't have the homestand we wanted, but we finished strong, a chance to take some positive momentum out on the road."

Since 2015-16, no Western Conference team has beaten its rivals in the East more often than the San Jose Sharks.

That bodes well for San Jose as it kicks off a five-game east coast road trip Friday night with a clash against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

"We have five games on the road and we have to take a minimum of like eight points," Sharks center Tomas Hertl confidently told the San Jose Mercury News.

The Sharks (2-3-0) have 43 wins in the last two-plus seasons against Eastern Conference teams, including Tuesday's impressive 5-2 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens which capped a season-opening five-game homestand.

Logan Couture sparked Tuesday's victory with a season-high four-point effort that featured his second and third goals of the young season.

Couture was one of four Sharks to record multiple points in the game. Veteran center Joe Thornton, who started slowly this season coming off knee surgery, was one of the others, finishing with a goal and an assist.

"We know what we are capable of, and there's still a lot more we need to do, but (Tuesday) was a step in the right direction" Sharks captain Joe Pavelski told reporters. "We didn't have the homestand we wanted, but we finished strong, a chance to take some positive momentum out on the road."

This road trip sees the Sharks traveling 5,430 miles in the air, spending 10 nights in hotels and playing five games in eight days once the puck is dropped in New Jersey on Friday.

They can help themselves win some games by continuing their recent strong play on special teams where their penalty killers have extinguished 19 of the last 20 man-disadvantages and their power play is tied for third in the league at 28.6 percent.

All the news is not good for the Sharks, though. Defenseman Paul Martin did not make the trip and remains on injured reserve as he struggles to get healthy following offseason ankle surgery.

Then there is the challenge of opening the trip against, perhaps, the most surprising team in the league. A year ago, the Devils finished last in the Eastern Conference. This season, they have won six of their first seven games and sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 12 points.

The Devils won again Thursday night, rallying from two goals down in the third period to beat the Senators in Ottawa 5-4 in overtime. Defenseman John Moore capped the comeback with the overtime winner after goals by Kyle Palmieri and Marcus Johansson knotted the score.

"We really battled for each other and we were able to fight and claw for two points," Moore said on MSG Network following Thursday's game.

That collective battle level is a hallmark of this Devils team. The Devils have three straight come-from-behind victories, and they have won all four of their road games this season.

Taylor Hall had four assists on Thursday -- including the primary helper on Moore's game-winning score -- and Drew Stafford extended his point-scoring streak to three consecutive games with an assist on Nico Hischier's first NHL goal.

The 18-year-old Hischier, the top overall pick in this summer's draft, broke out against the Senators, scoring two goals and adding an assist for the first multiple-point game of his career.

"It's way more fun if you win the game, so now I can really enjoy the night," Hischier told MSG Network. "It means a lot to me."

Of concern to the Devils is the health of goaltender Cory Schneider, who played the first two periods in Ottawa before departing the game with a lower-body injury. Keith Kinkaid finished in goal for the Devils and stopped all nine shots he faced, allowing his team to complete its comeback.

Kinkaid was already scheduled to start Friday against the Sharks. The Devils backup goalie earned wins in both appearances this season.

Devils coach John Hynes said after the game that Schneider will be further evaluated Friday.

Also in question is whether defenseman Mirco Mueller, a healthy scratch Thursday, will face his former team for the first time since the Sharks traded him to the Devils last summer.

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