NEWARK, N.J. — Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs isn’t the only goal-scorer lighting it up in the NHL. Take a look at Kyle Palmieri of the New Jersey Devils.
Palmieri scored two goals for the third straight game and the Devils rallied from their first deficits of the season to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on Sunday.
Palmieri has six goals in three games, just four behind Matthews, who has 10 in six contests.
“Whatever he’s doing, he’s got to keep doing it. Two goals a game every night,” Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid joked after make 37 saves to help New Jersey open the season with three straight wins for the second year in a row.
Palmieri had 24 goals last season but he didn’t get his sixth until just before Christmas in large part because he missed 19 games with injuries.
This year everything he shoots seemingly is finding twine.
“Getting some bounces. A couple have been pretty lucky,” said Palmieri, who is the first Devil to score two goals in each of the first three games.
The game-tying goal 37 seconds into the third period wasn’t luck. The Devils won a faceoff. Defenseman Andy Greene came down from the point for a shot and Palmieri whacked a rebound past Martin Jones.
“I told him after the second period, don’t stop at one (goal),” Greene said. “They are different goals and he scores when they’re bouncing off of him, on the power play and he’s at net front. That’s his game and we need him to continue to do that. I don’t know if realistically we can count on him for two a game, but he’s done it for three so why not keep it going?”
Jean-Sebastien Dea scored the winner at 3:25, stuffing home the rebound of a shot from the circle by former Shark Mirco Mueller. Kinkaid made the lead stand holding off two late Sharks’ power plays.
Joe Pavelski and Timo Meier scored for the Sharks, who are heading home after a five-game road trip. Jones made 33 saves as San Jose lost to New Jersey for the third time in its last 11 games.
“It’s disappointing because we go into the third with the lead,” said Pavelski, who picked up his 700th NHL point. “This team has the players to get the job done. We have to system. It’s a couple of times pucks are finding a way to go into the net right now. We will get that figured out.”
After a scoreless opening period, the Sharks took a 1-0 lead when Pavelski slammed home the rebound of a Brent Burns shot at 3:51 of the second period.
Palmieri tied the game at 7:06 with shot from the left circle with the Sharks playing two men short.
Meier put San Jose ahead with 4:25 left in the second period with a shot from the left circle on a quick counter attack.
“We have to play harder,” said Sharks forward Logan Couture, who had a shot hit the post shortly after Dea scored. “We have to play a lot better, harder individually. There are a lot of guys that haven’t played well yet this season, or their best. Thankfully, it’s only six games where this is happening.”
NOTES: John Hynes coached his 249th game with the Devils, moving in third place in team history. Coincidently, he moved out of a tie with Pete DeBoer, the current Sharks coach. … Sharks were 2-2-1 on road trip. … Sharks F Evander Kane, who had four goals in the first five games, got his first assist of season on Pavelski’s goal. … Sharks D Erik Karlsson got a four-minute minor for a high-stick that cut Devils C Nico Hischier with 8:08 to play. … Referee Tom Chmielewski left the game in the third period after being hit in the ankle by a puck. Referee Garrett Rank and the linesmen finished the game.
Sharks: Return home to host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
Devils: Host Dallas on Tuesday night.