San Jose took the first meeting of three this week between the Sharks and Anaheim, but could not hold off the Ducks in the 2-0 loss Tuesday night in San Jose. The Sharks started strong, but did not hold their focus.
“It’s a big game and you’ve got to have people get the job done in big games,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “We shouldn’t play the way we did in a big game like this. This was an opportunity to put some distance between Anaheim and us. I’m most disappointed we didn’t build on the other night. It’s inexplicable to not have the extra passion tonight.”
The game was played very effectively by both clubs in the opening stanza, but the Sharks suffered breakdowns in the second period and could not recover from the 2-0 deficit created in the second period.
“I think they won more battles and did it all over the ice,” said Patrick Marleau
. “When you win more battles, you have the puck more.”
In the end, it was a loss and the Sharks were not looking for the silver lining.
“We’re past the point of moral victories,” said Mike Grier. “Every game we have played them, they’ve taken a point off of us. We have to find a way to get the puck past Giguere.”
San Jose actually had the better scoring opportunities in the first period as Grier had a breakaway and Team Teal couldn’t push two loose pucks across the goal line while they briefly sat unattended in the crease.
“In the first, I would like to have finished the breakaway,” said Grier. “The second sat right at the goal line. We were hoping we were going to get more chances.”
Grier was once again teamed with Mitchell on the penalty kill and while they came close, they could not come up with a shorthanded goal for a second straight night.
“Close, but no cigar this time,” said Mitchell.
Rob Davison probably summed up the night the best.
“I think we’re embarrassed by the whole game,” said Davison.
The loss went to the entire team, but Wilson was very direct with wanting more from one trio in particular.
“One line was on the ice for all three goals by Anaheim (during the last two games) without generating much offense at all,” said Wilson.
Davison did provide a bright spot on the evening when he stepped up and went toe-to-toe with Anaheim heavyweight George Parros. The six-foot-three, 220 pound Davison was actually giving up a few pounds and two inches to the Ducks brawler. Still, Davison answered the bell, eventually taking Parros to the ice.
“He’s a big boy,” stated Davison.
Davison’s teammates appreciated his efforts.
“Davey is a great teammate who sold out for the guys,” said Grier. “He has a bad finger and probably shouldn’t be fighting. He was risking his health to do something for the team.”
“That was huge by Davey to get the team going and get some excitement going,” said Marleau.
Another scrap happened in the third when Parros shoved Evgeni Nabokov back into his net. A scrum ensued and Craig Rivet landed punches on Ryan Carter.
“The guys were sticking up for each other,” said Marleau.
The only two goals allowed by Nabokov were on odd-man rushes and he was able to actually stop a two-man rush with no defenders back early in the final period. On the play, Bobby Ryan’s shot was stopped by Nabokov as the netminder slid his right toe over just in time.
“That two-on-zero stop to start the third was huge,” said Grier. “All you can ask of a goalie it to try and give you a chance to come back.”
“Too bad we couldn’t help him out,” said Mitchell. “He came up big with that save (in the third).”
Wilson concurred with the players on Nabokov.
“Nabby was sharp, there was nothing he could do on the goals,” said Wilson. “He made a couple of great saves. Nabby was solid.”
BEST OF THREE
The third of the three games this week between San Jose and Anaheim will occur Saturday night in San Jose. In between the rematch, the Sharks will play Phoenix at home Thursday night and the Ducks return home for one game. Three games in four nights against the defending Stanley Cup champions is as close as the regular season can come to postseason action.
“It seems like a playoff atmosphere when we play them,” said Mitchell.
DUCKS HEAD COACH, RANDY CARLYLE
“It was an evenly played hockey game and we were fortunate enough to get the first goal and then we got a big goal by the rookie Bobby Ryan.”
“I don’t know if we were the sharpest tonight, but we were effective in our checking game and we did a good job of retrieving the puck and getting it out of the zone. I think that was the key to the hockey game tonight.”
“We grounded out a game here on the road and those are not easy points for us in this building.”
“I think we are two evenly competitive hockey clubs. That’s what happens when you know one another and we have played one another so many times.”
The Sharks will play Phoenix Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at HP Pavilion and tickets are available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be carried on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.