Playing in the second half of a back-to-back, the Ducks saw their two-week points streak come to an end in San Jose with a 4-1 defeat to the rival Sharks.
Anaheim had not lost in regulation since Dec. 3, getting points in six straight including wins in the last two road contests. But San Jose, led by a Joe Thornton's four-point night, put an end the Ducks' hot stretch. The Sharks snapped snapped a five-game losing streak with the win.
Ryan Getzlaf scored a power-play goal 34 seconds into the third period to cut the Sharks lead to 2-1, but the Ducks could not get any closer as Thornton (his second goal of the game) and Devin Setoguchi scored within 2:48 each to put the game out of reach late in the final period. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 33 saves in the loss.
"We made too many mistakes," Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermeyer said. "They stuck to their game plan and we took too many penalties. We didn't have as much energy as we needed for most of the game."
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 20 shots, and Patrick Marleau also scored for San Jose. The Sharks beat the Ducks for the third time this season to move into a tie with the Los Angeles Kings for the Western Conference lead.
"We got back to doing a lot of things we need to do to get back to winning," Marleau said. "We were pretty well rested and it was nice to win a division game."
The Sharks had five days off following their loss in Arizona on Saturday. They have another four days off before playing consecutive nights in Dallas and Chicago.
Thornton has scored in each of the Sharks' wins over Anaheim.
Giguere made a stick save on Torrey Mitchell's penalty shot at 6:20 of the first period. Mitchell was awarded the shot after being hooked on a breakaway.
Thornton gave the Sharks the lead midway through the second period after redirecting Marleau's shot from in front of the net. Marleau scored six minutes later on a nice redirect in the air off a shot from Douglas Murray.
"For a shift or two after their goal I think the bench was a little nervous," Thornton said. "But that's normal for a team that's a little fragile. We sure rebounded rather well afterward though."
Getzlaf received a pass from Bobby Ryan and took advantage of traffic in front of the net to hold the puck until Nabokov committed and then flung it just inside the right post. Getzlaf scored in back-to-back games for the first time.
"We had a little bit of complacency coming in," Ryan said. "We didn't get emotionally involved until the third period and it's tough to win a game in 20 minutes."
The Sharks, second in the NHL in penalty killing, have allowed power-play goals in each of their last four games.
Thornton's power-play goal with 6:37 remaining came on a rebound from Joe Pavelski's shot.
Setoguchi scored three minutes later after taking a centering pass from Thornton, who had an assist in the game to pad his NHL lead to 38. It was Setoguchi's first goal in 11 games.
"It's only a matter of time before a goal scorer will start scoring," Thornton said. "That was a nice shot for the final goal."
NOTES: Ducks forward Joffrey Lupul had surgery Thursday to repair a herniated disk in his back. ... Thornton has points (5 goals, 20 assists) in 14 of his last 15 games. ... Soccer star David Beckham was in attendance. ... Ryan has nine points (4-5) in his last seven games.
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