NEWARK, N.J. – Two days after being a healthy scratch against Buffalo, Matt Nieto had the perfect response for San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan.
Nieto returned to the lineup and scored the game-winning goal at 6:20 of the third period, and the Sharks defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Sunday.
Whenever you get a chance to be in the lineup, you have to have a positive impact and that’s something I try to do whenever I am in, Nieto said.
Nieto not only returned to the lineup, he replaced Brent Burns on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.
It’s so easy playing with those guys, said Nieto, who now has seven goals in 48 games and also played a key role as the Sharks killed off all four Devils’ power plays. I just have to retrieve pucks for them, and when I get it to them, go to the net and get open.
The winner came on a counterattack after goaltender Alex Stalock made five of his 21 saves, including a two-on-none save against Patrik Elias.
Thornton made a pass from the left boards to Pavelski in the middle of the ice. He found Nieto coming down the right side and the forward ripped a shot into the top corner of the net.
Logan Couture and Raffi Torres also scored for the Sharks.
SENATORS 4, CANUCKS 2: In Vancouver, British Columbia, Cody Ceci scored a second-period goal as Ottawa won before a crowd of more than 50,000 in the Heritage Classic.
FLYERS 5, CAPITALS 4, OT: In Washington, Vincent Lecavalier scored at 2:45 of overtime as Philadelphia rallied from a two-goal deficit.
PANTHERS 5, ISLANDERS 3: In Uniondale, N.Y., Scottie Upshall scored twice in the third period as part of a four-goal Florida surge.
Upshall’s 11th of the season broke a 3-all tie at 10:31 of the final period.
BRUINS 6, RANGERS 3: In New York, Tuukka Rask made 19 saves in a one-sided first period, and defenseman Dougie Hamilton had a goal and two assists to lift Boston to its first season-sweep of New York in 31 years.
BLUES 4, PHOENIX 2: In Glendale, Ariz., Patrik Berglund scored twice as St. Louis scored four goals in the third period to win in goaltender Ryan Miller’s debut.
AVALANCHE 6, LIGHTNING 3: In Denver, Nick Holden scored two goals, and Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist as Colorado rallied to win its second straight.
DUCKS 5, HURRICANES 3: In Anaheim, Calif., Corey Perry had two goals and an assist in the first period, and Andrew Cogliano scored a short-handed goal to lift Anaheim to its second straight win. Frederik Andersen made 49 saves for the NHL-leading Ducks, who led 5-0 midway through the second period.