By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – The Ducks got close, but ultimately not close enough in dropping their preseason finale to the Sharks, 6-5 at Honda Center.
After entering the third down three goals, Anaheim got within one on two separate occasions, but never managed to tie it in dropping their third straight to end the preseason.
The Ducks’ first comeback occurred when they scored twice in a 14-second span to make it 5-4 San Jose. At 6:51 of the third, Kyle Palmieri met up with the puck off the right wing wall before slinging a wrist shot that darted inside the far post. Soon afterward, Peter Holland backhanded the puck on net, and Dustin Penner tipped it just through for his first of the preseason.
But San Jose killed the Ducks momentum, scoring on the power play at 7:36, soon after a Devante Smith-Pelly interference penalty. Dan Boyle sent a shot from the left point past a screened Jonas Hiller to make it 6-4 Sharks.
Anaheim made it 6-5 as Saku Koivu pounced on a loose puck off a rebound and backhanded it over the shoulder of goalie Antti Niemi. But that’s as close as Anaheim got, failing to score that sixth goal in the final minutes, including when Hiller went to the bench for an extra attacker.
The Ducks and Sharks scored five combined in the first period, trading goals until the Sharks went out in front 3-2.
Among the goals scored in the period was an amazing one from Andrew Cogliano at just around the halfway mark. Cogliano chased the puck into the San Jose zone before putting a spin move on Scott Hannan, falling to the ice and lifting the puck with the backhand past Niemi.
Watch the goal
"It was just a second effort," Cogliano said. "I saw [Scott] Hannan was cutting me off, so I decided to try to do a spin around him. Second effort, and it ended up going in. It would’ve been nice if it was in the regular season, but it is what it is. I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again, but I’ll remember it at least."
A spin move by Koivu set up the game’s first goal, from Daniel Winnik 4:46 into the game. Koivu spun to give himself some room to drop the puck to Mark Fistric, whose point shot was tipped down and through by Winnik.
But the Sharks answered each Ducks goal in the period, scoring two straight from Joe Pavelski and Jason Demers to take the lead into the first break.
"We weren’t playing the way we wanted to in the first period," Hiller said. "We scored two goals, but besides that, we couldn’t win many battles. It’s tough to win. We didn’t work hard enough. Everything just ended up on their stick somehow. It was a tough night. We showed some pride in the third to work our way back, but it’s definitely not the way you want to end the preseason."
The Sharks made it 4-2 relatively early in the second stanza when John McCarthy gathered in a rebound off Hiller and backhanded it home. Then five minutes into the period, a Matt Beleskey roughing penalty and a Ryan Getzlaf cross-checking call (for which the home crowd voiced its disapproval), led to a two-man San Jose advantage. The Ducks paid for it, as a Boyle point shot ricocheted off the chest of Hiller, and hit a Duck in the back before trickling over the stripe.
"I know you shouldn’t be saying this in preseason, but it was men versus boys there for two periods," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "They had the puck the whole time. We have to get better. It’s not back to the drawing board-stage, but let’s start to get better."
The Ducks still have roster cuts to make before opening the season on Wednesday in Colorado.