The San Jose Sharks have been chasing the Pacific Division leading Anaheim Ducks all season and after the first period, with the Ducks up 2-0, tonight was no different. Both teams exchanged chances early, with the opening minutes dictated by physical play and up-and-down action in front of a sell out crowd of 17,496.
for video highlights from Monday’s game.
The Sharks controlled the second and third periods, both physically and in terms of shots, outshooting the Ducks 42-19 for the game, but it was the Ducks who skated off victorious, thanks to some timely goals and stellar netminding.
Sharks winger Milan Michalek was turned aside by starting Ducks goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov 90 seconds in just after Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov stopped Samuel Pahlsson on a partial breakaway, having been sprung from the blueline on a deflected clearing attempt. The Sharks Marcel Goc got the crowd on its feet with a nifty spin-o-rama move in the high slot that saw his backhand shot clang off the post three minutes in.
The pace of the game slowed for a bit as the two teams felt each other out. Despite the Sharks holding a 6-2 advantage in shots at the halfway mark of the period, Anaheim struck first as Dustin Penner went five-hole on a tipped shot from the point by Ric Jackman. Ryan Getzlaf was awarded the secondary assist.
A few minutes later, the Sharks pressed on and Michalek beat Chris Pronger one-on-one with a nifty move, but just missed getting off a clean backhander.
With just over five minutes left on the clock, the Ducks Chris Kunitz had a partial two-on-one and his centering pass was stopped by McLaren who tied up Selanne at the same time, denying the Anaheim forward a chance to poke at the puck lying tantalizingly free in the crease.
Two minutes later, Penner struck again as a shot from the point caromed off the backboards. Getzlaf, who received the primary assist, took a swipe at the puck getting enough to slip it by San Jose’s defense that had collapsed on the net allowing Penner to swipe the puck through the five hole again. Francois Beauchemin who started the play from the point received the secondary assist. Penner has scored seven points (5-2=7) in six games this season against San Jose. The second period ended with the Ducks up 2-0.
San Jose started off the second period strong. Michalek again skated with a purpose and took a long shot that whistled just over the net. Fighting through a check, he pounced on the rebound and his backhand shot on goal was turned aside. The attempted clearing pass hit Anaheim’s Travis Moen on the head and bounced back towards Bryzgalov, landing dangerously on top of the net before ending up on the ice behind the goal where it was cleared.
San Jose was awarded the first power play of the game as Getzlaf high-sticked Mike Grier six minutes in. San Jose wasted little time, winning the draw back to the point where Matt Carle walked in and uncorked a bomb. Bryzgalov made the initial save, but lost the puck in his uniform. Michalek pounced on the loose puck as it fell to the ice and his shot toward the net deflected off the sliding Beauchemin, ensuring it ended up in the net.
The crowd and the Sharks were energized as Team Teal swarmed the Ducks zone. Andy McDonald was whistled for slashing McLaren in the frenzy and San Jose had the man advantage again but failed to capitalize.
Just a short time later, and with the Sharks still pressing, a great individual effort by Cheechoo driving to the net caused Selanne to haul him down for interference--the Ducks third successive penalty in a span of just over five minutes of action.
Michalek, who was buzzing all night, scored his second of the game off a beautiful feed from Thornton who had created space at the blueline on a pass from Cheechoo. Michalek took the feed in the high slot, stopped the puck and quickly flicked it to the forehand at the near post before sliding it under a sprawling Bryzgalov.
Thornton extended his assist/point streak (1-3=4) to three games and leads all Sharks with seven points (1-7=8) in six games thus far against the Ducks this season. Jonathan Cheechoo (5-2=7) added to his season series totals.
The second period ended tied at two and saw the Sharks outshoot the Ducks 14-8 in the period, aided by the three power plays.
The Sharks came out with a purpose again in the third period, peppering Bryzgalov with five shots on goal and several more that were blocked in the first three minutes of action turning the mood for the San Jose faithful into a carnival like atmosphere.
Perry earned a holding penalty for pulling down Rob Davison as they battled to the corner to retrieve a dump in. As the Sharks pressed for the go ahead goal, a massive scrum in the crease caused O’Donnell to slash Steve Bernier, giving the Sharks a brief two-man advantage.
The Sharks repeatedly peppered a collapsed Ducks defense, but couldn’t put the go ahead goal in. Despite out shooting the Ducks 9-1 in the first nine minutes of the third period, Selanne finished off a beautiful rush that he created by taking the puck in the neutral zone, dumping it deep where it was retrieved by Kunitz who feed a streaking Selanne in front of the net for his 38th of the season.
Excitement was building into a playoff frenzy as time wound down. A crushing check by Michalek on Scott Niedermayer with just over four minutes left sprung the puck free and the crafty Czech calmly walked out in front to take a shot. On the ensuing scramble, the puck hit the post—third time in the stanza and fourth of the game—and was smothered by the Ducks goalie.
San Jose pulled the goalie for the extra attacker for the final minute but could not find the equalizer.
The Sharks fell to seven points behind the Pacific Division leading Ducks. San Jose has one game in hand. Tonight’s game was San Jose’s first after a season-long eight-game road trip that saw the Sharks go 4-4.
It is still unknown exactly when recently acquired San Jose defenseman Craig Rivet will join the team as some pending immigration issues still need to be resolved following Sunday’s trade…San Jose faces Western Conference leading Nashville on Wed (7:30 p.m., TV: FSN, RADIO: 98.5 KFOX) and starts a three game road trip on Friday in Anaheim and close out the season series with the Ducks with a road game on April 4…San Jose will also visit Dallas on Sunday and Minnesota on March 6…Patrick Rissmiller was scratched with a lower body injury…Mark Bell had his three game assist streak (3 assists) and a four game points streak (1-3=4) snapped.
Bell – Thornton – Cheechoo
Michalek – Marleau – Bernier
Clowe – Pavelski – Grier
Goc – Brown
Carle – McLaren
Ehrhoff – Vlasic
Murray – Hannan
Nabokov – Schaefer
|FINAL ||1 ||2 ||3 ||T |
| ||Anaheim ||2 ||0 ||1 ||3 |
| ||San Jose ||0 ||2 ||0 ||2 || |
|ANA: ||PENNER, D. (10:16 in 1st), PENNER, D. (16:43 in 1st), SELANNE, T. (08:19 in 3rd) |
|SJS: ||MICHALEK, M. (PPG, 06:54 in 2nd), MICHALEK, M. (17:11 in 2nd) |