ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - The Anaheim Mighty Ducks blew one-goal leads four times against the new-and-improved San Jose Sharks before Rob Niedermayer bailed them out. Now, Joe Thornton knows the taste of defeat on the West Coast.
Niedermayer scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and the Ducks beat San Jose 5-4 on Sunday night to snap the Sharks' six-game winning streak.
"Every team in our division is very strong. So every time we can get a win, it doesn't matter if it's 10-9 or 1-0, we just have to be happy with it," Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said after facing 34 shots.
Scott Niedermayer also had a goal for the Ducks - only the second time he and his brother scored in the same game since becoming teammates, and the first time since opening night in a 5-3 win at Chicago. Todd Fedoruk ended a 49-game goal drought, Chris Kunitz scored the first short-handed goal of his career and Todd Marchant extended his goal-scoring streak to three games.
Grant Stevenson had two goals for the Sharks, one on the power play, and Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist. Scott Thornton also scored for San Jose, which lost for the first time with his cousin, Joe Thornton, in uniform.
The Sharks are 6-1 since acquiring Joe Thornton in a trade that sent defenseman Brad Stuart and centers Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau to Boston. The three-time All-Star is second in the league with 48 points, three behind Jaromir Jagr, and first in the league with 36 assists.
"Hopefully we won't have too many more of these losses. I like winning games," Joe Thornton said. "Hopefully, starting Tuesday, we can get on another streak."
Rob Niedermayer's 10th goal put Anaheim ahead to stay with 10:04 remaining. He redirected his brother's wrist shot from just inside the blue line, then had to wait out a video judge's ruling that took several minutes.
"Our guys said it went off the shaft of his stick above the net. But we haven't gotten any breaks on replays, so I don't know what I was expecting," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "It's out of your control, so what are you going to do?"
Marchant put Anaheim ahead 4-3 at 4:10 of the third, converting a centering pass by Joffrey Lupul from behind the net. But Scott Thornton tipped in a shot by Tom Preissing to pull the Sharks even for the fourth time. Joe Thornton also got an assist, giving him three goals and 12 assists in his first seven games with the Sharks and extending his overall point streak to 13 games.
Fedoruk scored his first goal since Jan. 17, 2004, beating Evgeni Nabokov with a 30-foot wrist shot at 11:05 of the second period to put Anaheim ahead 3-2. But the Sharks tied it less than 3 minutes later, as Stevenson converted Marleau's centering pass from behind the net for his fifth goal in 11 games since getting called up from Cleveland of the AHL.
"It's pretty disheartening when you get up and they come back right away," Rob Niedermayer said. "It just shows how dangerous a team they are. They never let up. They just seem to find a guy in the open and then it's in the back of your net. They came back quite a few times, but we just stuck with it. It was a huge victory, especially with the way they've been playing since that trade."
Scott Niedermayer put Anaheim ahead 2-1 at 3:36 of the second period. But Marleau, who has three goals 13 assists since Thornton joined the team, scored his 13th goal on a wrist shot from the left circle after Sharks rookie Josh Langfeld knocked the puck off Teemu Selanne's stick deep in the Ducks' zone.
"We never gave up and that was a good sign," Joe Thornton said. "They're a good team. They kept on coming, but we kept on pushing back. It's a good character team we've got in here, and it was exciting to play a game like this. We hit a couple of posts that could have changed the outcome of the game, but it was back-and-forth hockey and it was a fun game."
The Ducks were getting outshot 10-1 when Kunitz stole the puck from San Jose forward Niko Dimitrakos just inside the Anaheim blue line and raced the length of the ice before backhanding his third goal of the season between Nabokov's legs at 11:37 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.
"We keep shooting ourselves in the foot," Wilson said. "It was turnovers, or missed assignments in front of the net, or the defense not doing a very good job of boxing people out and allowing then to get their or sticks or bodies on some pucks around our net."
Notes: The game's first whistle wasn't blown until the 6:53 mark, when Giguere gloved a long wrist shot by Christian Ehrhoff. The Ducks went nearly eight minutes before getting their first shot on net. ... Sharks D Kyle McLaren, another former Bruin, missed his second game after undergoing minor surgery on his left knee. ... The Sharks have scored at least four goals in each of their last seven games, after scoring no more than three in 12 of their previous 13.
|SHG - Chris Kunitz (4) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 ANA
|PPG - Grant Stevenson (4) ASST: Christian Ehrhoff (5)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Scott Niedermayer (4) ASST: Rob Niedermayer (15)|
2 - 1 ANA
|Patrick Marleau (13) ASST: Josh Langfeld (9)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Todd Fedoruk (1) ASST: Joe Dipenta (5), Tyler Wright (6)|
3 - 2 ANA
|Grant Stevenson (5) ASST: Patrick Marleau (26)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Todd Marchant (6) ASST: Joffrey Lupul (13), Keith Carney (8)|
4 - 3 ANA
|Scott Thornton (5) ASST: Tom Preissing (11), Joe Thornton (36)|
4 - 4 Tie
|Rob Niedermayer (10) ASST: Scott Niedermayer (19), Francois Beauchemin (9)|
5 - 4 ANA
|Power Play %||25.0%||0.0%|
|% on Road||25.0%||0.0%|
|% at Home||0.0%||0.0%|
|Jonathan Hedstrom Tripping|
|Ruslan Salei Tripping|
|Andy McDonald Tripping|
|Rob Davison Hi-sticking|
|Mark Smith Hooking|
|Rob Davison Interference|
|Jonathan Cheechoo Kneeing|
|Todd Marchant Boarding|
|Todd Marchant Tripping|