ANAHEIM, Calif. – Anaheim’s Niedermayer brothers, both with a goal and an assist, led the Ducks over Joe and cousin Scott Thornton’s San Jose Sharks, 5-4, in a family affair on Sunday at the Arrowhead Pond.
The victory snapped San Jose’s six-game winning streak and moved the Ducks ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes for sole possession of third place in the Pacific Division with 36 points.
“Tonight was one of those games where the momentum was going back and forth and we found a way to get it done,” said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. “That’s always a nice sign. These are important points for us against a division rival.”
Rob and Scott Niedermayer hooked up twice in the game with Rob’s third period redirection of brother Scott’s shot from the point being the eventual game-winner. The brothers have figured in on 10 of the same goals so far this season.
Anaheim led on five different occasions with the Sharks battling back four times to tie during the contest.
“They’re a dangerous team with (Joe Thornton) and (Patrick) Marleau,” said Rob Niedermayer. “They never let up. We’d get a goal and they’d come back. We stuck with it and it was a good win for our team.”
Chris Kunitz (4, Unassisted) started the Ducks’ five-goal effort, shorthanded at the 11:37 mark of the first period. Kunitz pounced on a Sharks turnover at neutral ice and beat San Jose goaltender Evgeni Nabokov on a breakaway to give the Ducks the 1-0 lead.
As with four of Anaheim’s leads in the contest, their first one would be short-lived.
“It’s pretty disheartening when you get up and they come back right away,” said Rob Niedermayer. “It just shows how dangerous they are and how you can never let up. They just seemed to keep finding the guy in the open.”
Grant Stevenson (4, Ehroff) got the Sharks on the board at 17:34 of the first period to tie the game, 1-1, heading into the first break.
Scott Niedermayer (4, R. Niedermayer) got the lead back for the Ducks 3:36 into the second period with a wrist shot through traffic that got past Nabokov to put the Ducks up, 2-1.
Marleau (13, Langfeld) tied the game again two minutes later at 5:37 with a quick shot under the crossbar and over the shoulder of JS Giguere.
Todd Fedoruk (1, DiPenta, Wright) answered at 11:05 of the second period with his first goal of the season to give the Ducks a 3-2 lead.
Stevenson (2, Marleau) capped the second period scoring with a one-timer in the slot past Giguere to once again tie the contest going into the intermission, 3-3.
Todd Marchant (6, Lupul, Carney) and the Scott Thornton (5, Preissing, J. Thornton) traded third period goals before Rob Niedermayer’s eventual game-winner (10, S. Niedermayer, Beauchemin) at 9:56 of the third period.
The goal was reviewed for nearly five minutes as the officials tried to determine if the puck was redirected with a high stick as Rob Niedermayer battled with Sharks defenseman Rob Davison. It was decided the goal was legal and gave the Ducks their fifth and final lead of the game.
“What matters today is that we got a big win,” said Giguere. “We scored some big goals and we never got down when they scored.”
Anaheim will play the second half of the home-and-home with San Jose on Tuesday at 7:30 PM at HP Pavilion before returning home to the Arrowhead Pond on Wednesday to face the St. Louis Blues at 7:30 PM.