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4th line fuels streaking Sharks in 6-2 win over Devils
By JOSH DUBOW
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) The job of a fourth line is usually to provide energy, give some rest to the top players and occasionally chip in with a goal.
Hansen scored his first goal of the season and Fehr and Goodrow also scored for a fourth-line hat trick that helped the Sharks win their season-high fifth straight game, 6-2 over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
"It's probably been a while since that happened," Fehr said of all three fourth-liners scoring in a game. "It's nice to contribute. Obviously everybody has been going for a while now. To be able to chip in offensively and defensively gives the guys a little bit of a break. It's always nice for us."
Logan Couture added his 30th goal of the season, and Joe Pavelski and Mikkel Boedker also scored to give the Sharks a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with one game in hand.
The scoring barrage by San Jose spoiled Cory Schneider's return to net for the Devils. Schneider allowed four goals on 14 shots before getting pulled for Keith Kinkaid midway through the second period of his first start since March 8. Schneider has lost 11 starts in a row since his last win for the Devils on Dec. 27.
"To me it's not on the goaltender or either goaltender that was in," coach John Hynes said. "Our team has to be better in lots of aspects of it."
Taylor Hall scored his 32nd goal of the season and Blake Coleman also scored for the Devils, who lead Florida by just one point in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers have two games in hand.
After Hansen and Fehr scored in the first period, Goodrow chipped one in midway through the second period on a surprising night of scoring from the fourth line when he beat Schneider on a 2-on-1.
"We were talking about that after the first," Goodrow said. "It would be nice to complete the hat trick for the line. Definitely felt good to score that one."
Couture then scored 40 seconds later on San Jose's first shot against Kinkaid for his third career 30-goal season. Boedker added San Jose's second power-play goal of the night late in the second and the rout was on.
The Sharks got off to a fast start in their first game back from a 3-0 Canadian road trip, scoring three goals in the first period and killing 1:20 of a two-man advantage for New Jersey.
"We didn't get off to a great start and then we got behind the eight ball and never recovered from it," Hynes said.
The teams traded goals to start with Fehr beating Schneider over the shoulder from a bad angle and Hall answering when he stole a bouncing puck from Justin Braun and beat Jones with a quick shot.
San Jose then scored twice in a span of less than three minutes to take the lead. Pavelski tipped in a shot from Kevin Labanc on the power play to give the Sharks the lead.
Then after Jones denied Damon Severson from in close at one end, Dylan DeMelo sent a long pass that Hansen chased down and then beat Schneider on a breakaway for his first goal since March 30, 2017.
"It's always nice to see a guy who hasn't put one in in a while finally get rewarded," Couture said. "He comes into the lineup and he works hard. He doesn't play every game. It's not an easy thing to do."
Devils: Visit Pittsburgh on Friday.
Sharks: Host Vegas on Thursday.
More AP hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Updated March 21, 2018