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game recap

Rakell, Silfverberg help Ducks spoil Karlsson's Sharks debut

Each has three points in season opener; defenseman is minus-2 in first game for San Jose

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- John Gibson made 31 saves, and the Anaheim Ducks opened the season with a 5-2 victory against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Wednesday.

 

[WATCH: All Ducks vs. Sharks highlights]

 

"[Gibson's] been strong," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "This organization made a commitment to [Gibson], and deservedly so. He's earned the opportunity to grab the net, and you see again tonight he's in there to battle for our hockey club."

Defenseman Erik Karlsson had no points and was minus-2 in a San Jose-high 26:47 in his regular-season debut with the Sharks.

"We've got to give it to them, they did a good job in capitalizing on the chances that they got and we did not even though we created a lot of good things out there," Karlsson said. "It's the first game. Now we've got some things to work on, and we'll take it from there."

Brandon Montour gave the Ducks a 3-2 lead at 8:02 of the third period, beating goalie Martin Jones with a backhand from the left circle to the short side. Adam Henrique increased Anaheim's lead to 4-2 with a power-play goal at 10:22, and Carter Rowney scored into an empty net with 24 seconds left to make it 5-2.

Video: ANA@SJS: Rakell pots Silfverberg's feed for PPG

Jones allowed four goals on 14 shots.

"We did a lot of good things," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "The result wasn't there, and I know everyone is disappointed. Everyone wants to start out with a great win in front of our home crowd. We did a lot of good things, but obviously there are some areas we need to clean up too. It's that time of year. You get to know your team. But when I look at the game, other than not winning, I think there was good effort there and we did a lot more good than bad."

Rookie forward Max Comtois scored on a breakaway 49 seconds into the game to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. It was the sixth-fastest goal by a player making his NHL debut.

"Wouldn't believe it if you had said that to me before the game," Comtois said. "It was a good play by [Henrique] to poke the puck to me, and I found a way to put it in the back of the net. I'm really happy to get this one out of the way. It's good for the confidence."

Forwards Sam Steel and Kiefer Sherwood each made his NHL debut for Anaheim, which was without injured forwards Corey Perry (knee), Ryan Kesler (hip), Patrick Eaves (shoulder) and Ondrej Kase (concussion), as well Nick Ritchie, an unrestricted free agent who is unsigned.

"They played well," Gibson said of the young Ducks. "You see we're a lot faster, and I think they contributed a big part of that."

Video: ANA@SJS: Montour beats Jones with incredible backhand

The Sharks tied it 1-1 at 7:51 of the first period when Evander Kane got the puck in the neutral zone, skated around defenseman Josh Manson, and beat Gibson with a wrist shot.

Tomas Hertl put the Sharks ahead 2-1 with an unassisted, shorthanded goal at 17:14 of the second period, but Ducks forward Rickard Rakell took a cross-crease pass from Jakob Silfverberg and scored a power-play goal at 18:00 to tie it 2-2.

"That was a big momentum swing," Silfverberg said. "Their crowd was really going crazy there. It's tough to lose one on a shorthanded (goal). It was a big goal to get us back in the right direction."

Silfverberg (three assists) and Rakell (one goal, two assists) each had three points.

Karlsson, a two-time winner of the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman in the NHL (2012, 2015), was acquired in a trade from the Ottawa Senators on Sept. 13.

"I thought he was good," DeBoer said. "Like I said, I thought guys came in and tried to execute the game plan. We did a lot of good things. We had them at, we gave up 10 or 12 shots through most of the game. Created a lot of chances ourselves. Didn't finish, didn't extend the lead when we had opportunities to, and that's what happens."

 

They said it

"It's a huge win for us. Not the prettiest win, but we found a way. We stuck to our game, kept pushing, and found a way. Special teams came up big for us, and [goalie John Gibson] came up big for us too and kept us in it the first two periods." -- Ducks forward Adam Henrique

"We dominated the first two periods pretty good. We had a lot of chances. We didn't get some bounces to go our way tonight. And we paid the price with the result." -- Sharks forward Evander Kane

 

Need to know

Kesler (hip) skated Wednesday morning but was scratched. ... Ducks forward Brian Gibbons (bruised hand) was cleared to play and skated Wednesday morning but was scratched. ... Sharks forward Antti Suomela made his NHL debut at center on the third line and had two shots on goal in 10:59.

 

What's next

Ducks: At the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; FS-A, PRIME, NHL.TV)

Sharks: At the Los Angeles Kings on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Silfverberg, Rakell lead Ducks to 5-2 win in opener

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