By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – The long-awaited return of Scott Niedermayer had enough of an impact on the Ducks to hold San Jose to just one goal through regulation and overtime But Niedermayer’s return and the debut of newly acquired Doug Weight was spoiled when the Sharks outlasted Anaheim in the sixth round of a shootout.
|The Ducks got on top early on a Bobby Ryan goal in the first.
San Jose’s Joe Thornton connected in the tiebreaker to give San Jose a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Honda Center, keeping the Ducks from winning their third in a row in the season series. (Each of the three games has gone to shootouts.)
Tonight's shootout followed a scoreless third period and overtime, in which both teams had their chances to take the lead.
The game was Niedermayer’s first after contemplating retirement during the offseason and in the first two months of this season. Niedermayer played 23 minutes, 52 seconds for a Ducks defense that gave up 37 shots to San Jose. But Ducks netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere was outstanding in stopping 36 of those.
Giguere couldn’t make one last stop on Thornton, who was the third Sharks skater (along with Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski) to connect in the shootout. Pavelski’s shootout score was the Sharks first against the Ducks in 11 previous chances. Todd Bertuzzi led it off with a successful attempt for the Ducks, and Corey Perry also converted.
"I think tonight was a game where we worked pretty hard and we did a lot of good things," Niedermayer said. "There were still maybe a few mistakes and a few lulls in our intensity. You can’t have that. We just have to keep working and trying to build to eliminate those things. We were right there. We had some opportunities to win this game. It’s a fine line when you’re playing a team like that."
Receiving a little less fanfare than Niedermayer’s debut was the first appearance of Weight, whom the Ducks picked up in a trade Friday (along with Michal Birner and a seventh-round draft pick) for Andy McDonald. Also playing his first game since early in the season (after getting called up from Portland yesterday) was rookie Bobby Ryan, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Both Weight and Ryan made their presences felt early by combining on the Ducks’ first goal of the game.
Weight skated down the right wing, slowed to a halt and sent a cross-ice pass to Ryan who wristed it from the left circle past San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov on the stick side.
"It was nice to see Bobby score," Weight said. "We carried on some confidence and had some good chances from then on in. It was a good hockey game tonight. Jiggy kept us in there and penalty kill kept us in there and it gave us a shot to win the game."
The goal broke a dubious streak for the Ducks in which they gave up the first goal in 12 straight contests (going 5-6-1 over that stretch).
|Giguere had 36 saves for the Ducks.
The Ducks carried that 1-0 lead into the second, but it was erased by a pretty goal by San Jose rookie Torrey Mitchell on a breakaway with the Sharks shorthanded. Mitchell poked the puck away from Schneider at the blueline and headed up the middle of the ice. Schneider dove at him and knocked him down, but Mitchell got back to his skates in time to make a move on Giguere and score it. Mitchell had his first career goal against the Ducks last Nov. 9 and has three of his five this season against Anaheim.
Both teams had their share of missed opportunities in the first two periods. Milan Michalek earned a penalty shot after getting ahead of the defense and forcing Chris Pronger to dive at him from behind. But Michalek’s wrist shot attempt deflected high off Giguere.
Almost two minutes into the second, Ryan Getzlaf was all alone on a breakaway, but tried to make one move too many and lost the puck. With San Jose on a power play midway through the second, a Patrick Marleau shot was deflected in front by Mike Grier and hit the inside of the post before being sent out of the crease.
Neither team could find the net in the third, with San Jose outshooting the Ducks 13-8 and Giguere making several big stops.
The Ducks had several opportunities in the overtime, the biggest one coming from Niedermayer himself, who picked up a loose puck in the slot and let go of a wrister that clanged off the left post.
The Ducks(15-15-5) have a rematch with the Sharks (18-10-4) in San Jose on Tuesday.
"This is the type of game that changes a year," Weight said. "It was a big point. We’d love to have two, but we need to build on this momentum. If we’re going to play like and we’re going to get goaltending and get penalty killing like that, we’re going to win a lot of hockey games and we’re not going to have to go to a shootout."
Added Niedermayer, "This is exactly what I expected. It would have been great to win that game. I think we could have done that. It was an intense game and two pretty good teams playing hard. We get another opportunity in two days against them to get two points."
The Ducks are undefeated in regulation versus San Jose this season (2-0-1). The club looks to extend their win streak at HP Pavilion to four games on Tuesday night (one win this season, two wins last season). Anaheim’s overall record versus San Jose in their last nine regular season contests is 6-1-2 dating back to Dec. 26, 2006 (4-3 win @ SJ).
In his Anaheim debut, Doug Weight recorded an assist, the 697th assist of his career. He is now three assists shy of being the fifth U.S.-born player to record 700 career assists.
Todd Bertuzzi is riding a season-high three-game point streak (2-1=2). He also has a four-game point streak at HOME (3-1=4).
In his first game since his recall, Bobby Ryan recorded his second career NHL goal. His first came in his NHL debut on Sept. 29 @ LA in a 4-1 loss (NHL Premiere in London).
Tonight’s game marked the Ducks’ 52nd consecutive sellout (17,174) at Honda Center (40 regular season plus 12 playoff games). Anaheim’s sellout streak is the third-longest among U.S.-based NHL teams.
SJ Joe Thornton's attempt is a wrist show that's GOOD, beating Giguere on the stick side. Sharks win it 2-1.
ANA Chris Kunitz's attempt is a wrister that misses the cage.
SJ Patrick Rissmiller's attempt is a wrister that hits Giguere in the pads.
ANA Bobby Ryan
's attempt is kicked away by Nabokov.
SJ Patrick Marleau's attempt is GOOD, as he sends a wrist shot between the pads.
ANA Corey Perry's attempt is GOOD, as he skates in from the right side, makes a move and sends it under Nabokov.
SJ Devin Setoguchi's attempt is a wrister right into Giguere's chest.
ANA Ryan Getzlaf
's attempt is NO GOOD, as he makes a fake and sends it off the crossbar.
SJ Joe Pavelski's attempt is GOOD, a wrister 5-hole on Giguere.
ANA Doug Weight's attempt is saved by a diving Nabokov.
SJ Torrey Mitchallle's attempt is kicked away by a sprawling Giguere.
ANA Todd Bertuzzi's shootout attempt is GOOD with the backand on the glove side.
5:00 - END OF OVERTIME - The Sharks deny the Ducks on a few scoring chances and send this thing to a shootout. The Ducks have beaten San Jose in both games this year in shootouts, one coming here and one in San Jose.
4:30 - Scott Niedermayer nearly gets one one a wrister after picking up the loose puck in the slot, but it hits the right post. The roof would have blown off this place had that found the net.
3:59 - Weight skates across the crease and gets tripped by Nabokov's stick, but shockingly there is no call.
3:45 - Michalek briefly gets some space on a rush, but Niedermayer smoothly takes it away. I remember him doing that a lot.
2:54 - Pronger flips it deep into the zone from behind the redline and Pahlsson races down to touch it first, but it's called icing. Awful call.
2:38 - The Ducks look to go on a Weight-led rush, but they're offside.
0:00 - The puck is dropped for the extra session.
20:00 - END OF REGULATION - Both the Ducks and Sharks go scoreless in the third, and we're going to overtime.
19:50 - Schneider makes a last-ditch effort with a hard slapper from the point, but it's saved in front and the Ducks can't do anything with the scramble for the loose disk.
17:36 - Weight puts a shot on net that's saved and the Ducks scramble to follow it, but it's covered.
15:37 - SJ Penalty - Christian Erhoff, 2 min. hooking. The Ducks get a chance late in the game.
15:07 - The Ducks get another big kill.
14:55 - Giguere makes three more big saves in a manner of seconds.
14:05 - Michalek tries a one-timer from the left circle, but Giguere slides out and gloves it.
13:20 - San Jose gets close with a loose puck in front, but it's knocked away, partly by Giguere.
13:07 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. holding. How dare they make that call tonight.
11:50 - With the Sharks holding the puck behind the net, Rob Niedermayer gets a little close to Nabokov, so Nabby shoves him. No whistle.
9:48 - Pronger rips another one that's deflected past the net, drawing an "ooohhhh" from the crowd.
5:20 - Scary moment with a loose puck in front of Giguere, but Marchant sweeps it away.
3:40 - Pronger rockets one that hits off Nabokov's pads.
2:30 - First time the puck crosses the redline away from the Ducks zone.
0:00 - We're off and running in the third, tied 1-1.
During the intermission, it's the return of the What Would You Do For a Honda Ridgeline video contest. In the first one, a guy dances around in a Ducks jersey with a helmet on to the tune of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" as he throws punches in the air. In the second, it's a scene in a hospitall and a guy says to the camera, "My wife doesn't know it, but I just named our new son Honda Ridgeline Herrera." Cut to a shot of a newborn with a Ducks orange towel draped over it. The first one got deservedly booed. The second, a winner in a landslide.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Sharks take over in the second, getting one back on a breakaway goal by Mitchell. We'll go into the third knotted at 1.
19:50 - Giguere makes a nice stop on a Thornton power play shot.
19:09 - ANA and SJ Penalties - ANA Corey Perry
, 2 min. cross checking and Travis Moen, 2 min. roughing and SJ Kyle McLaren, 2 min. cross checking. Perry and McLaren get into it away from the puck in the SJ zone, and it gets a bit ugly after the whistle blows. A replay shows the McLaren was ready to move on after an initial struggle, but Perry wasn't willing to let it go. Moen comes over to help and suddenly all 10 skaters are involved, including #27 for the Ducks.
17:28 - Setoguchi gets room in the slot and takes a shot that Giguere saves near the right shoulder.
The way Nabokov has his jersey tucked into his pants, he looks like a fat old man. Unfortunately, he doesn't play goalie that way.
13:55 - George Parros
, with just-cut hair, gets loose in the Sharks zone but can't make anything happen.
12:55 - Weight makes a great drop pass to Bertuzzi, whose shot is kicked away. Schneider is right there for the rebound, but can't get enough stick on it.
11:54 - Moen skates with it out of the zone as the Ducks get a huge kill.
11:20 - Michalek gets behind the defense and sends it to Bernier who can't quite control it as Giguere dives on it.
10:25 - A Marleau shot from the right circle is deflected in front by Grier and hits the inside of the left post before being shuttled away by the Ducks.
7:54 - ANA Penalty - Todd Marchant
, 4 min. (double minor) high sticking. Marchant draws blood on Thornton during a scrum in front of the Ducks net.
6:07 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. holding. Watch that momentum, folks.
5:13 - SAN JOSE GOAL - TORREY MITCHELL - With the Sharks shorthanded, Mitchell pokes the puck away from Schneider and heads up the middle of the ice on a breakway. Schneider dives at him and knocks him down (which was going to draw a penalty) but Mitchell gets right back on his skates, makes a move on Giguere and puts it in. It's 1-1.
4:28 - Ryan on the first PP unit.
4:27 - SJ Penalty - Milan Michalek, 2 min. high sticking. Michalek gets Pahlsson in the face.
3:07 - Schneider's shot from the slot is kicked away, as is Ryan's follow.
2:22 - Scott Niedermayer takes a shot from the left circle, which is gloved by Nabokov as Perry gets knocked over by McLaren.
1:50 Getzlaf intercepts the puck and heads down on a breakway. He's got all the time in the world. Too much time, as he makes one move too many and loses the puck.
0:46 - Rob Niedermayer speeds down the left wing on a shorthanded rush and tries to center it to Beauchemin. It's knocked away, but Pahlsson gets it and takes a shot that's saved.
0:00 - And we're back, with the Ducks starting the period down a man.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks are outshot 12-8 but get the lone goal of the period, thanks to Ryan and Weight at 13:49. It's 1-0 Ducks for the first time in 13 games.
19:52 - ANA and SJ Penalties - ANA Chris Pronger, 2 min. slashing and Travis Moen, 2 min. roughing and SJ Craig Rivet, 2 min. roughing. After the whistle, Moen and Rivet look like they want to drop the gloves, but the officials don't let it happen.
19:33 - Michalek gets away from Beauchemin and heads out on a breakaway. Pronger dives at him, swinging his stick to knock it away and a penalty shot is awarded. Michalek tries a wrister from between the circles and it deflects off Giguere straight up into the air. Giguere had stopped 10 shootout attempts going into that penalty shot.
18:40 - Perry makes a great pass from the corner to Bertuzzi in the slot, but Bert can't get a shot off.
17:22 - Pronger, Schneider, Bertuzzi, Getzlaf and Perry on the Ducks PP unit.
17:21 - SJ Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. interference. A Sharks player pulls on Corey Perry
as Perry tries to get away after going into the Sharks bench.
16:50 - Ducks kill a big one.
An emailer just asked for an explanation of what the "tennis balls" are. They are the two (sometimes three) fans who sit behind the goal wearing bright flourescent yellow sweatshirts. There are two or three different spots they sit in and it often changes each game.
14:50 - ANA Penalty - Mathieu Schneider, 2 min. interference. San Jose gets another shot at it.
The video board shows Niedermayer with a "Welcome Back, Scott" message, to the tune of the "Welcome Back, Kotter" theme song. Marginal.
13:49 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - New Duck Doug Weight skates down the right wing, then screeches to a halt, sending a cross-ice pass to new call-up Ryan who wrists it past Nabokov on the stick side. Todd Bertuzzi gets the second assist, giving points to three guys who weren't on the team last year. It's 1-0 Ducks and it breaks a string of 12 straight games in which they've given up the first goal. And what a way to do it.
12:56 - Rob Niedermayer turns the puck over in the Ducks zone, but Giguere makes two huge point-blank saved on Thornton.
10:36 - Now the Ducks go on the power play for about a minute.
9:26 - SJ Penalty - Milan Michalek, 2 min. slashing. Michalek slices Pronger's stick in half to bail out the Ducks.
8:37 - No Niedermayer on the first power play unit. It's Pronger and O'Donnell with Pahlsson and Rob Niedermayer.
8:36 - ANA Penalty - Todd Marchant
, 2 min. hooking. First power play of the game.
During the timeout, the holiday edition of the Kiss Cam. I always enjoy that. We don't do it enough.
Tennis balls are back in their normal fifth-row spot for the second straight game.
4:15 - Mathieu Schneider dives to steal the puck away from Joe Thornton near the Ducks net.
3:21 - Parros gets some room on the right dot and takes a wrister -- saved.
2:27 - Curtis Brown takes a hard-angle shot from the left circle that Giguere easily gobbles.
0:30 - Niedermayer takes a tame shot from the blueline.
0:01 - Niedermayer touches it right off the faceoff and the crowd lets him know they noticed.
0:00 - We're underway at Honda Center, with Scott Niedermayer on the ice for the first time since last June 6.
5:05 p.m. - Scott Niedermayer gets a giant ovation when he's announced in the starting lineup.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; SJ Evgeni Nabokov
Starting Skaters: ANA Chris Pronger, Samuel Pahlsson, Scott Niedermayer, Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer; SJ Kyle McLaren, Milan Michalek, Devin Setoguchi, Joe Thornton, Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Scratches: ANA Brian Sutherby, Drew Miller, Joe DiPenta; SJ Matt Carle