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Hischier has 4 points as Devils score 7 straight goals to rout Sharks 7-2

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Nico Hischier had a goal and three assists, Jack Hughes added a goal and two assists, and the New Jersey Devils beat the San Jose Sharks 7-2 on Tuesday night.

New Jersey scored seven straight goals after falling behind 1-0 and improved to 16-10-2 on the road. The Devils, who had lost three of four, sit five points back of a playoff spot.

“We know where we are,” Hischier said. “It’s no secret. Everybody knows. We know we need to get some wins."

Jesper Bratt, Kevin Bahl, Colin Miller, Brendan Smith and Dawson Mercer also scored for New Jersey. Timo Meier had two assists in his return to San Jose, as the Devils rebounded from a 4-1 home loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.

“As a group we were disappointed with the last game ... and you can only answer that with the next game,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “I think all the guys answered that. Really a complete effort.”

Nico Sturm and Justin Bailey scored for San Jose.

The last-place Sharks have dropped six of seven — and they lost starting goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to a lower-body injury late in the first period after he stopped all 13 shots he faced. Kaapo Kahkonen entered with the game still scoreless, but allowed seven goals in relief.

Sturm thought the Sharks failed to be competitive.

“Regardless of the outcome scoring-wise, we want the other team to say, ‘Hey, we had to work really hard for what we got tonight,’” Sturm said. "And I thought today we were just way too easy to play against.”

With the Devils down 1-0, Bratt notched his team-leading 22nd goal three minutes into the second period, playing catch with Meier on a 2-on-1 before finishing into an open net after Meier delivered a pinpoint backhand pass. On the ensuing shift, Hughes picked off a cross-ice pass by Henry Thrun at the Devils blue line and beat Kahkonen on a breakaway.

Bahl’s goal made it 3-1 heading into the third, and then New Jersey piled on four more in the first eight minutes of the final period. Sharks coach David Quinn called a timeout to address his team directly after Hischier netted the Devils’ seventh goal.

“I think when you see guys that normally don’t score goals … the excitement on the bench — the bench was having a lot of fun,” Ruff said. “And at the same time, trying to respect the game where it was at.”

Sturm put the Sharks ahead 1-0 late in the first period.

“We just gave them the puck over and over and over again,” Quinn said. "When you keep making plays and you don’t care about the consequences, you’re going to get a 7-2 loss.”

Meier, who spent seven seasons with the Sharks and had five 20-goal campaigns, returned to San Jose for the first time since being traded to New Jersey last February. Meier thought he had a power-play goal in the second period, but it was disallowed after the Sharks challenged for offside.

The 27-year-old winger, who signed an eight-year extension with the Devils in the offseason, said it felt strange being in the opposing locker room.

“Definitely feels weird," Meier said. “I’m happy we won. I think that’s the big thing, definitely. Before the game, some emotions and everything, but then once you go out there, it’s just business. And it’s nice to get those two points.”

UP NEXT

Devils: Visit the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

Sharks: Host the Ducks on Thursday.

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AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

Eric He, The Associated Press