ANAHEIM - Although their playoff hopes are all but extinguished, the Ducks played some spirited hockey against a familiar rival tonight.
Rickard Rakell had a pair of goals and assisted on Jakob Silfverberg's game-winner in overtime as the Ducks vanquished the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in front of a boisterous crowd at Honda Center.
On the first shift of overtime, Rakell slid the puck to Silfverberg, who whipped a shot from the slot that sailed past Sharks goalie Aaron Dell just 38 seconds into the extra session. It was the 23rd of the season for Silfverberg, tops on the club and matching his career high from 2016-17.
Video: SJS@ANA: Silfverberg pots wrister 38 seconds into OT
"Ricky made a great play at the line. I was just crossing behind him, and he had them looking at him," Silfverberg said. "I got my skates moving towards the net. Figured I might as well try. I put a lot on it, and it went in. It was a good feeling, but Ricky was the one who made the initial play and gave me that room."
Oddly enough, it was the first overtime game since January 13 for the Ducks but their 17th of the year. It also snapped a four-game overtime losing streak for Anaheim.
"I know they wanted it," Ducks assistant coach Marty Wilford said. "You could feel it on the bench. There was a lot of emotion. They were engaged in the game. The power play scored a couple big goals. They deserved to win this game."
The Sharks, who have already clinched a postseason berth, suffered a fifth straight loss as the Ducks captured their third in the last four.
"It feels good, especially after last year in the playoffs," said Silfverberg, referring to San Jose's sweep of the Ducks in the First Round. "There is some payback there. It's always nice beating those guys."
The Ducks took the lead twice in the third period on power plays, the last coming with 4:55 left in the game on a snipe from the top of the left wing circle by Rakell, his second of the night.
Video: SJS@ANA: Rakell nets PPG for second of game
But for the second time in the period, the Sharks came roaring right back, tying the game on a Justin Braun goal off an end boards rebound.
Anaheim took a 2-1 lead early in the third period near the end of a power play on a one-timer by Adam Henrique that snuck through Dell's five hole. It was the 18th of the year for Henrique, second on the team behind Silfverberg.
Video: SJS@ANA: Henrique fires home Terry's feed for PPG
The Sharks were handed a power play right back and took advantage when Joe Thornton's slap shot snuck behind goalie John Gibson into the crease and Timo Meier finished the job to make it 2-2.
The Ducks got a golden opportunity eight minutes into the game and took advantage, as a Ryan Getzlaf steal gave Silfverberg open ice down the right wing, and he fed Rakell for the shot from the slot.
Video: SJS@ANA: Rakell roofs shot to open the scoring
"It feels good when you get to score pretty early in the game," Rakell said. "After that, we kept coming throughout the whole game. We created scoring chances and put pressure on them. We took a few too many penalties in this game, but at the same time, most of the time, our PK units weren't giving them anything. Feels good to beat them."
San Jose tied it up early in the middle frame on a Kevin Labanc wrister from the bottom of the left wing circle.
It was the first of three times San Jose would wipe out Ducks leads, but Anaheim ultimately got the last laugh early in OT.
"We're starting to work together more and play a little bit more loose," Rakell said. "Our mentality is just to go out there and help each other."
The Ducks turn right around and take on the rival Kings tomorrow night at Staples Center in LA.