The San Jose Sharks entered their contest with Pacific Division rival Anaheim having Craig Rivet in the lineup for the first time, but despite scoring in his first Sharks contest, he could not end the Sharks current losing streak.
On the night, San Jose was without Patrick Marleau
(upper body), Scott Hannan (lower body) and Mark Smith, who is still on the injured reserved list.
Evgeni Nabokov started in net for San Jose against J.S. Giguere as Vesa Toskala, who did back up, continued to rest.
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A debatable penalty to Kyle McLaren put Anaheim up a man in the first five minutes and the Ducks made them pay. An initial shot was stopped by Nabokov, but Dustin Penner reached out and pushed in the loose rebound for the 1-0 lead.
After Joe Thornton was knocked down with a high hit entering the zone with no call, Steve Bernier was whistled for two minutes and the Ducks had a second consecutive advantage. This time though the Sharks were able to overcome the whistle.
San Jose looked to even things when Sharks enemy number one Chris Pronger was sent to the penalty box. Then a secondary call (although one wasn’t called when Cheechoo was elbowed in the head) gave San Jose 35 seconds of five-on-three time. Team Teal couldn’t find the back of the net though and the one-goal lead was preserved.
Then with 1:30 left in the opening period, Anaheim struck again for the 2-0 lead. An odd play saw Matt Carle fall to the ice and a suddenly wide-open Andy McDonald held the puck until Chris Kunitz came open on the left side and he buried the McDonald pass.
San Jose had not played poorly, but they were down 2-0 after 20 minutes.
The opening 10 minutes saw a power play for each squad and several minutes of four-on-four time, but nothing that affected the scoreboard.
Nothing changed in the second half of the middle period as the two clubs finished off the stanza with just a combined nine shots. San Jose would need to come up with at least two goals in the final period to at least force overtime.
Less than five minutes into the third, Team Teal finally broke through. In his Sharks debut, Rivet let loose a cannon from the right point and the Sharks only right-handed defenseman fired one past Giguere. The Sharks were within one with more than 15 minutes of action left.
And when Anaheim looked to increase their advantage again right after the San Jose goal, Nabokov was there to rob former Shark Teemu Selanne with a glove save.
Unfortunately, following an unsuccessful Sharks power play, the Ducks were given a two-minute advantage and they made it 3-1. A Chris Pronger slapper was taken, with Kunitz and Vlasic out front screening the Sharks netminder, and the puck found the back of the net.
San Jose would pull Nabokov for the extra attacker, but could not change the result of the 3-1 loss.
The Sharks pick up for a Sunday contest in Dallas at 12:30 p.m. The game will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.