ANAHEIM – If the Ducks and Sharks are to see each other again in the postseason, it promises to be an intriguing clash.
One night after the Ducks thrashed the Sharks in their own building, 5-2, San Jose got revenge at Honda Center with a 3-2 victory that came down to an Anaheim charge to tie it in the final seconds. And the battled raged after the final horn, when Anaheim’s furious attempts to find the net (with goalie Jonas Hiller on the bench for an extra attacker) erupted into a full-fledge brawl involving everyone on the ice, including Sharks goalie Brian Boucher.
"We had many chances at the end there to put the puck away," said Ryan Getzlaf, who had a chance to punch in a rolling puck in the closing seconds, but couldn't get his stick on it under pressure from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. "We played a good hockey team tonight. There is no doubt about it. There were a few chances that were missed and a few penalties taken in different situations that we shouldn’t have."
|A Jonathan Cheechoo power play strike in the third was the difference as the Ducks dropped a hard-fought battle to San Jose, 3-2.
The postgame fight (in which six minors and five misconducts were handed out) was the fallout of a tight battle that saw neither team take more than a one-goal lead, a game ultimately decided by a Jonathan Cheechoo power play goal in the third period.
Cheechoo’s strike with 6:41 left came after Chris Pronger took a delay of game penalty while trying to kill off a Drew Miller holding minor, as Pronger inadvertently flipped the puck over the glass trying to sweep it out of the zone. Cheechoo struck about a minute and a half later, redirecting a Christian Erhoff shot from the point for the goal that would stand up as the game-winner. It was the second power play goal of the game for San Jose, second in the league with 84 on the season.
It was just the second loss in the last 11 for Anaheim, and it snapped a four-game win streak that was built in part by a big three-city road trip that ended successfully last night in San Jose. The Ducks missed a chance to catch Columbus in sixth place in the Western Conference, which they would have done with a victory. San Jose, meanwhile, maintained its hold on the top spot in the conference and continued its quest for the President’s Trophy for best record in the NHL.
"There were obviously some emotions, frustrations and whatnot," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "It was all displayed toward the end of the hockey game, that is for sure. We didn’t seem to have the required energy tonight for stretches of the game. It seemed like we were running on fumes at times. That leads to mistakes, turnovers and some of things that we haven’t done from a structured standpoint."
Anaheim struck first blood on the first shorthanded goal of Petteri Nokelainen’s career 5:38 into the game. After Scott Niedermayer tried to flip the puck out of the zone on the penalty kill, it was caught out of the air by Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who tried to place it down on his stick. But before he could, it was swiped by Nokelainen, who sprinted the other way on a breakaway and took a wrist shot that goalie Brian Boucher saved initially but dragged with him over the stripe as he fell on his side.
That was the only damage done by either side in the first, but San Jose quickly struck back in the second. Jeremy Roenick took a Joe Thornton pass and one-timed it home from the slot 2:43 into the period to tie it 1-1.
|Corey Perry's power play goal in the second gave the Ducks the lead, but they couldn't hold it.|
The Ducks went ahead again midway through the period, as Corey Perry struck on the power play for his team-leading 31st of the year. A Teemu Selanne pass on the rush was broken up and sent airborn, and as it fell to the ice, Perry slapped at it and tucked it inside the far post.
But San Jose got even again less than four minutes later, also on the power play, as Joe Pavelski received the puck on the edge of the crease and spun around to send it under Hiller.
It was the second start in as many nights for Hiller, who beat the Sharks the night before in San Jose. Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, however, gave way to backup Boucher after taking the defeat last night.
The Ducks don’t play again until Friday night, with their final regular season home game against Dallas, then they end the regular season Saturday in Phoenix.
"It’s tough, but it’s nice that we get a little bit of a break before our last two games, especially this late in this season," Perry said. "We’ve been playoff hockey for the last couple of weeks here. It’s been a long haul and we’re in a great position where we are. It’s our destiny. We have to come out and prove that we belong there. We have to ready for Friday. It’s going to be a test, especially with these days off. We have to be prepared."
Anaheim extended its power play goal streak to seven consecutive games, going 10-for-27 (37.0%) during that stretch. In the last four contests, the club has gone six-for-eight on the power play for a 75.0% success rate.
Over the past seven games, the Bobby Ryan-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry line has earned 15-19=34 points. During that span, Getzlaf has collected 2-11=13 points, Perry with 7-4=11 points and Ryan earning 6-4=10 points.
With an assist tonight, Ryan Getzlaf extended his point streak to six games (2-11=13). His assist accounted for his 90th point of the campaign (25-65=90), becoming just the third player in franchise history to reach the 90-point mark in one season (also Selanne and Kariya, multiple seasons).
With his assist tonight, Teemu Selanne moved into a share of 42nd place with Bernie Nicholls on the NHL’s all-time scoring list, bringing his career point total to 578-631=1209 in 1130 games. He also extended his point streak to five games, having earned 3-3=6 points during the span.
Corey Perry has a five-game goal streak at HOME (5-2=7) and extended his overall point streak to three consecutive games (3-2=5).
Tonight’s attendance was 17,398, a sellout including standing room only.
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