The Ducks grinded out a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night at SAP Center, capping off a successful round of back-to-backs in preseason action. Chris Wagner
and Corey Perry
scored for the Ducks, and Anton Khudobin
turned aside 23 shots in the win, which improved Anaheim’s preseason record to 2-0-1.
“I thought we played pretty good defensively,” said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau. “They’re a team that’s really good at home even though they didn't dress all their players. They dressed a good team. I thought, defensively, we were pretty solid to keep it close before we started to get it going on in the third period. I knew if we could get some shots on the net, we’d have a chance to win.”
The Sharks opened the scoring in the first period on a goal from one of their key offseason signings.
Just as Perry stepped out of the box for interference, Joel Ward got a piece of Paul Martin’s point shot, which beat Khudobin on the glove side to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead at the 13:22 mark of the opening frame.
The Ducks got a scare shortly after, when Sharks left wing Frazier McLaren earned a five-minute major and 10-minute game misconduct for boarding defenseman Korbinian Holzer at 13:46. Holzer, who was skating in his first game as a Duck after being acquired last March, got up gingerly before making his way back to the bench. (Holzer did not return to the game for precautionary reasons). Anaheim’s power play, which entered the game only one for nine in the preseason, failed to capitalize on the five-minute man advantage.
"Having to use five defensemen against those guys was a tough job, but I thought we came through," said Boudreau. "And our penalty killing ... at the end, when we needed to be good, I thought we were good."
Anaheim controlled most of the second period, generating a number of scoring chances on Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, who was sharp in his second preseason start. Jones ended last season as a member of the Kings, and was a piece in the trade that saw LA acquire left wing Milan Lucic from the Boston Bruins. Jones was promptly shipped to the San Jose Sharks four days after being acquired by the Bruins in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and a college prospect Sean Kuraly.
It appeared the Sharks would take a 2-0 lead with six minutes remaining in the second period, but the call on the ice was that the puck was kicked in.
The Ducks couldn’t capitalize on a Brent Burns interference penalty, generating only a single shot with the man advantage.
Khudobin wasn’t tested often in the middle frame, facing only four shots, while Jones turned aside six.
Wagner would tie the game early in the third period on an impressive individual effort. After creating a turnover in the neutral zone, Wagner entered the zone on a 2-on-1 with Harry Zolnierczyk and beat Jones glove-side at the 3:05 mark of the third. The goal ended a shutout streak of nearly 83 minutes for Jones.
After Sharks rookie Joonas Donskoi went off for high-sticking, the Ducks would finally break through on the power play. Shea Theodore’s point shot hit traffic in front of the net, and right to Perry, who stuffed it past Jones to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead with 7:37 remaining in regulation.
Thirty-five seconds later, Theodore would earn his second minor penalty of the game, this time an interference infraction at 12:58. But the Ducks stood tall, including Khudobin, who had to make several key stops in heavy traffic.
Khudobin made one final save on a wraparound chance by Matt Nieto with 6.5 seconds remaining to preserve the lead and give the Ducks a 2-1 victory in San Jose.
"I thought Khudobin's goaltending was very good," said Boudreau. "He was real sharp and on top of his game. He was really good."