SAN JOSE -- It was a playoff-type atmosphere inside SAP Center on Thursday night, but the Ducks relinquished their Pacific Division lead in a 3-2 loss to the Sharks.
Brent Burns scored with 3:59 left in regulation Thursday night, giving the Sharks a two-point lead on the Ducks, who have a game in hand.
Joe Thornton sent a shot from along the left boards toward the crease, and Burns, slashing through the low slot, redirected the puck past defenseman Bryan Allen and goaltender Frederik Anderson for the game-winner.
The Sharks have 99 points to 97 for the Ducks. San Jose is in first place for the first time since the end of play on Dec. 5.
"We had that one-goal lead and a couple odd-man rushes against lead to the puck in our net," said Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin. "We battled. Our penalty kill could be a little better. We moved the puck pretty well on the power play, but we have to keep going and keep working."
Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi made 16 saves, while Andersen stopped 25 shots.
Selanne snapped a 1-1 tie 1:43 into the third period with his eighth goal of the season. Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf won a battle for the puck with Marty Havlat along the boards and sent the puck to Corey Perry, who fired a shot from the low slot that bounced off Selanne and went past Niemi.
The Sharks nearly pulled even on a power play after Perreault went to the box for slashing Burns at 2:18. Logan Couture unleashed a shot through traffic from the right circle, and the puck was headed toward the goal line when Anaheim forward Daniel Winnik cleared it with an inch to spare.
Thornton made it 2-2 at 8:11, lifting a rebound over a diving Andersen. Joe Pavelski ignited a 2-on-1 rush with a slick pass to Burns off the left boards. Burns fired a shot that Andersen stopped, but the puck went directly to Thornton.
Selanne nearly scored again with 5:41 left to play. His shot was deflected over the crossbar and onto the net, then bounced back and dropped in the crease. But Niemi smothered the puck.
"It was a pretty even game," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "A bounce goes their way and it goes in. A bounce doesn’t go our way and it doesn’t go in. It’s a tough game, but that’s what happens when you have two good teams going at it. We made a mistake on the 2-on-1, and those are the things that are going to cost you."
Marleau gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 12:49 of the first period with a power-play goal. From behind Anaheim's net, Thornton fed a pass to Marleau in the low circle. Marleau ripped a wrist shot that hit the crossbar, then bounced off Andersen's shoulder and into the top of the net for a goal before dropping into the crease.
When Marleau scored, Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa was in the penalty box for roughing Sharks forward Tommy Wingels. Sbisa knocked Wingels into the boards. Then as Wingels tried to get up, Sbisa blasted him face-first into the boards again, drawing the penalty.
The Sharks entered the game with four power-play goals in their past 65 attempts, but they've scored a power-play goal in back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 18 and 20 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames. Anaheim allowed a power-play goal for the seventh straight game.
The Sharks outshot the Ducks 6-4 in a tight-checking first period.
The Ducks pulled even on Perreault's power-play goal at 17:40 of the second period. Anaheim was 0-for-21 in its previous six games on the power play and 3-for-53 in their previous 16 before Perreault one-timed a rebound past Niemi.
Niemi had stopped Perry's blast, but the puck ricocheted off his shoulder to Perreault in the low right circle.
The Sharks had killed off 1:54 of a tripping penalty on Logan Couture, but defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic joined him in the box at 17:30 of the second for interfering with Selanne. Ten seconds later, Perreault scored a 5-on-4 goal.
Andersen stopped all 11 shots that came his way in the second, including one from Burns on a breakaway.
"We have a big game on Sunday," said Beauchemin. "We still have a game in-hand on these guys. If we win Sunday, we’re back with them."
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