Once again, special teams proved to be a difference maker tonight. Trailing by a goal midway through the third period, the Ducks found themselves on the power play with a prime opportunity to find the equalizer. Instead, they gave up a shorthanded goal to Evander Kane and fell 5-3 to the San Jose Sharks in the final game of a season-long seven-game homestand.
The homestand started on the right foot, with the Ducks winning the first two, but things went south as they dropped the final five. They got off to the kind of start they were hoping for tonight, with Rickard Rakell scoring just 1:09 into the game. But the Sharks, who entered the game riding a season-best four-game winning streak, answered back 5 1/2 minutes later when Tomas Hertl scored his first of two goals in the game.
Video: SJS@ANA: Rakell wires home wrister for opening goal
Lately, the Ducks have had issues holding leads. It happened twice tonight. Jakob Silfverberg struck on the power play at the 13-minute mark of the second period, but the Sharks tied it up with 1:32 remaining in the middle frame with Hertl's second goal of the contest.
Video: SJS@ANA: Silfverberg jams home rebound for PPG
"I thought we had a good [second] period there," said Adam Henrique. "We were skating well, we were creating turnovers, we were getting opportunities and we were playing our game. So there's certainly been positives in a lot of the games we've played of late, but putting together a full 60 minutes has kind of still been a challenge."
After Brent Burns gave the Sharks the lead at the 8:05 mark of the third period with a power-play goal, Kane doubled it 2 1/2 minutes later when he raced in on a 2-on-1 and finished a saucer pass from Logan Couture.
The Ducks made it a one-goal game with 4:10 left in regulation after Max Jones got on the board, but Couture put it away with 38.1 left on the clock.
Video: SJS@ANA: Jones nets goal on the rush to trim deficit
John Gibson finished with 30 saves on 35 shots.
"Well, we were able to get one on the power play," said Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins. "Those players and [assistant coach] Mark Morrison have been working extremely hard at it, so it's good to see them get rewarded for their hard work. I thought our forecheck was excellent again tonight. It's hard to improve, but we've got the killer mentality when we get up. We're getting the chances right after that. It's 2-1, we're getting our chances, and that's where we've got to take another step and bury them. If we can get a goal there it certainly changes the complexity of the game."
The Ducks fell to 9-9-2 overall and hit the road for four straight beginning Saturday in St. Louis.
"You know, obviously not the way we wanted it to go," said Henrique. "So now, we have to go out on the road and make sure that we have a good road trip."