SAN JOSE, Calif. - Once again, the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks were locked in a tightly played game that had almost the intensity of the playoffs.
Just like the last meeting eight days earlier, the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks were better by the slimmest of margins.
Corey Perry scored the only goal in the shootout and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 28 saves to lead Anaheim to its second straight shootout win over the Sharks, 2-1 on Saturday night.
"It was a great battle tonight," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "It's two really good teams fighting for every inch of space on the ice. These two games have easily been the most intense games so far this year."
The Ducks blew a one-goal lead in the third period before winning their season-high fourth straight game. The streak began with a 3-2 shootout win over San Jose at home on Nov. 9 and includes a shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings earlier in the week.
Anaheim has recovered from a slow start to the season and improved to 6-1-1 in November.
"I don't know if you can say we're finding our groove, we've won four in a row but three of them are in shootouts," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We're not going to get too high on what we've accomplished. We've sure had our fair share of struggles early in the season, and for whatever the reason, but we're starting to get an understanding of how we have to play. Our hockey club has to play a strong forechecking game and be physical in order for us to be effective."
Perry shot second for the Ducks in the tiebreaker, skating out wide to his right before swooping in front of the crease, avoiding a poke check attempt by Evgeni Nabokov.
"I thought I got it actually," Nabokov said. "He did a great move and he put the puck upstairs. I went for a desperation save after that."
With Nabokov sprawling across the crease, Perry lifted a backhand shot into the net for his third career goal in 12 shootout attempts.
"It's not what I wanted to do," Perry said. "I wanted to stop but it was a quick reaction. I saw him going for the poke check and I wanted to get it away from his stick as soon as possible. He was down on his stomach and I just had to get it up in the air."
Giguere then stopped Joe Pavelski at the other end to clinch the win. Giguere had earlier turned aside Devin Setoguchi and Patrick Marleau in the shootout.
|San Jose's Sandis Ozolinsh, left, blocks the puck at the goal during the third period of their NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) |
San Jose had won four straight since that shootout loss in Anaheim in the first meeting of the season between the Pacific Division rivals.
The Sharks fell behind on a goal by Chris Kunitz in the first period and weren't able to beat Giguere to tie the game until midway through the third period.
After Giguere made a nice stop against Marleau, Jeremy Roenick won a faceoff from Samuel Pahlsson. Roenick drew the puck back to Sandis Ozolinsh at the point, and Torrey Mitchell deflected Ozolinsh's shot past Giguere for the equalizer 7:03 into the third.
Less than a minute later, Ozolinsh came up with the big play at the other end of the ice to keep the game tied. As a shot from Andy McDonald appeared poised to trickle over the goal line, Ozolinsh got his stick in the way before skating past the net for a spectacular save.
The Sharks were unable to score on four power-play chances against the NHL's worst penalty-killing team on the road. The Ducks had allowed goals on nearly 30 percent of power plays before holding San Jose to just two shots in 8 minutes with the man advantage.
The Ducks got on the board first when Kunitz deflected a shot from the point by Francois Beauchemin past Nabokov late in the first period. Nabokov kept the deficit at one when he slid across the crease in the final seconds of the period to stop Ryan Getzlaf from slamming in a rebound for a power-play goal.
Nabokov also finished with 28 saves. ... The Ducks didn't get a power-play chance after failing on their two opportunities in the first period. ... F Milan Michalek (elbow strain) missed his third straight game, and F Marcel Goc (back spasms) and D Craig Rivet (leg) missed their second straight for San Jose. ... Anaheim D Mathieu Schneider missed his second straight game with a sore hip.
Marcel Goc (back spasms) was placed on injured reserve, while Milan Michalek (elbow strain) and Craig Rivet (leg) remain day-to-day. With the injuries to Goc and Michalek, San Jose suited up seven defensemen.
Rissmiller - Marleau - Bernier
Cheechoo - Thornton - Setoguchi
Roencik - Mitchell - Grier
Pavelski - Brown
McLaren - Murray
Ozolinsh - Vlasic
Carle - Ehrhoff
Nabokov - Patzold
The Sharks will host the Los Angeles Kings at HP Pavilion on Saturday, November 24 at 7:30 PM (Pacific). The game will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX, Sharks Radio Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.