ANAHEIM, Calif. - Andy McDonald rallied the Anaheim Ducks to a shootout win over one of their most contentious division rivals.
McDonald, who has struggled offensively at times this season, scored the tying goal with 14:04 left in the third period and beat Evgeni Nabokov again for the clinching goal in the tiebreaker to give the defending Stanley Cup champions a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Friday night.
McDonald got the puck in the neutral zone from Kent Huskins, sped past Jonathan Cheechoo along the right boards and beat Nabokov to the stick side with a short wrist shot for the equalizer - only his third goal of the season after scoring 27 last season.
In the shootout, McDonald faked Nabokov to his left and slid the puck between the goalie's skates. The Ducks won the shootout 2-0.
"It was nice to see Andy McDonald get a big goal - the type of goal that he's capable of scoring - and then he gets the clinching goal in the shootout," coach Randy Carlyle said. "Hopefully, those are big morale boosters for a player who's been down on his luck a little bit."
Ryan Getzlaf also scored in regulation for the Ducks and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 22 saves in the opener of an eight-game season series between the Pacific Division rivals. It was the first time this season the Ducks won a game they trailed after two periods. They were 0-9, including Wednesday's 6-5 overtime loss to Phoenix.
"It just feels good to win," McDonald said. "We've got kind of a frustrated group in here and we're fighting for wins. So to be able to come from behind to win like that and to be able to contribute feels good."
All five teams in the Pacific are separated by just four points, and they're all spending most of this month playing each other. The Ducks are in a stretch of 10 straight games against division foes, including a home-and-home set with the Los Angeles Kings that starts next Tuesday.
"The two points are very important at this juncture because of the grouping of the teams and the way everything changes on a day-to-day basis with one win or one loss," Carlyle said.
Joe Thornton scored on a power play in the final minute of the second period for San Jose and Torrey Mitchell notched his first NHL goal. Nabokov stopped 24 shots. San Jose had six power plays, compared to one for Anaheim.
"We had one power play and they had six, and that usually is an indication that you're playing in your end too much and not getting the calls," Carlyle said. "But we found a way to get it done. That's part of our mantra, that never-say-die attitude and that passion."
Mitchell, playing in his 16th NHL game, opened the scoring at 10:32 of the first period when he staked down the slot and redirected Mike Grier's centring pass from the left circle past Giguere's right skate.
Mitchell entered the game as one of two rookie forwards in the league who had played every game for their respective teams this season without scoring a goal. The other was Chicago right wing Adam Burish, who did not score in his game against St. Louis.
Getzlaf's goal tied the score 1-all, but he was sent off for tripping Patrick Marleau with 2:23 left in the second period and the Sharks regained the lead on the ensuing power play. Thornton beat Giguere to the far side with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle with 41 seconds left in the period, while Milan Michalek was setting a screen in front.
"It was one of those plays where Joe just put it on net and the goaltender couldn't see the puck. We need more of it," Craig Rivet said. "There are times that we are doing a lot of very positive things, and other times where we let down and let teams gain a little momentum. That was the story again tonight."
Notes: Sharks C Jeremy Roenick played 22 shifts totaling 17 minutes and 23 seconds of ice time, but remained stuck on 499 goals as Giguere stopped all three of his shots. ... Anaheim LW Brad May leveled Roenick with his right shoulder, earning an interference penalty with 12:57 left in regulation, but the Ducks survived the power play. May and Roenick were teammates with the 2000-01 Phoenix Coyotes. ... Mathieu Schneider got an assist on Getzlaf's goal, the defenceman's seventh point in five games with the Ducks after missing the season's first 13 contests because of a broken left ankle. ... The Sharks, who set a franchise record by allowing just 12 shots on net in a 3-1 loss to Dallas, limited Anaheim to three in the first period. ... It was the seventh time already this season that the Ducks were limited to fewer than five shots in a regulation period, and the ninth time the San Jose defence gave up fewer than five. The Sharks did not allow a single shot on net by Boston in the second period of a 2-1 loss on Oct. 13.