By Matt Vevoda
– Unbeatable at Honda Center in a franchise-record 10 games spanning over a month’s time, Anaheim
ran into the buzz saw that has become San Jose
in a 3-1 defeat to the Sharks that gave them the Pacific Division title.
|In his fourth straight game in net for the Ducks, Jonas Hiller saved 24 of 27 shots.
The second period was the deciding factor in the game as the Sharks got two goals past the hot Jonas Hiller in the period to break open a 1-1 tie. The Ducks were able to get off some attempts in the third period of this game, unlike the zero shots in the third on March 21 in a 2-1 loss in San Jose, but none of the 10 they sailed at net could get past San Jose backup Brian Boucher.
While the Ducks’ 96 points (44-27-8) still has them in the fourth spot of the Western Conference, they will not be claiming a second straight Pacific Division title. The Sharks, who were nine points behind both Anaheim and Dallas for first place on Feb. 20, earned their third division title with a 16-0-2 record since.
"They’re playing good hockey right now," said Rob Niedermayer of the Sharks. "You don’t go on a run like they have been without playing some good hockey. They’re getting contributions from everyone right now. That’s what makes a good team."
The game finished off the season series between the teams. Although the Ducks held a 5-2-1 record against the Sharks this year, the two regulation losses have come in the last two games, which effectively ended the Ducks' attempt at the division crown.
"We just gave it away," Teemu Selanne said. "I think they wanted it more than us. We didn’t play on our level again, so that’s disappointing for us. You have to give credit to those guys (San Jose). They’re playing well."
The Sharks got on the scoreboard first when their captain Patrick Marleau took
a pass from Christian Erhoff in the slot and sank his 17th goal on the year past Jonas Hiller during 4-on-4 play 6:38 into the game.
Hiller had entered the game on fire, with 102 saves on 106 shots in three games including a career-high 41 in the 2-1 loss to the Sharks on March 21. Jean-Sebastien Giguere was in uniform, but the coaching staff elected to stay with Hiller’s hot hand and continue to let Giguere rehab back spasms that flared up last week. Hiller responded with another nice effort with 24 saves on 27 shots, but saw his record fall to 9-7-1 in the loss.
|In assisting on the Ducks' only goal in the game, Mathieu Schneider earned his 700th career point.
The Ducks would respond quickly with a Scott Niedermayer strike 11:09 into the first. On their first power play of the game, Mathieu Schneider fed the puck to Niedermayer in the slot and the dynamic defenseman flicked the puck past Boucher to knot the score at 1-1. Schneider earned the 700th point of his career on the assist.
Outshooting the Sharks 8-6 in the first period, the Ducks would see that advantage dissolve in a big way during the second as the Sharks would send 15 shots at net in the middle period compared to six from the Ducks.
The biggest of those 15 shots in the second was a rebound by Jeremy Roenick 11:10 into the period. After a Joe Pavelski slapshot attempt on a Sharks’ power play was stopped by Hiller, Roenick was right there to clean it up and give his team a 2-1 lead in the game just as the Ducks were about to go two men down.
Close to six minutes later, the Sharks added some breathing room when Curtis Brown banged in a rebound to put the score at 3-1. After Pavelski was denied by Hiller on a wraparound attempt on the left side of the goal, Brown was there to bang it in to give his team a two-goal lead.
"You have to give the opposition credit," Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. "They played an up-tempo game. We played okay for the first 10 or 12 minutes and then we started to get away. We were completely flat. We didn’t execute and pucks were bouncing away from us. They turned it up and we were standing around."
Fighting to get back in the game in the third period, the Ducks' best attempt came when Scott Niedermayer fired a one-timer from the right circle 6:36 in that looked like it had a chance before kicking off the left post. The loss at Honda Center was the Ducks' first since Feb. 15, a streak of 10 straight games.
|Although he did not play, Jean-Sebastien Giguere was honored before the game for becoming the franchise leader in career shutouts and wins earlier this season.
In uniform for the first time (but only as a backup) since suffering back spasms prior to the March 21 matchup with the Sharks, Giguere was given a nice tribute before the game for breaking the franchise records in career shutouts and wins earlier this season. The goaltender was given a commerative plaque and silver stick in honor.
Although he is progressing from an upper body injury suffered against the Sharks last week, Ryan Getzlaf missed his third straight game with the injury.
The Ducks will look to rebound from the loss and keep their current spot as the fourth seed in the West on Sunday at Honda Center when they welcome Dallas for the final matchup between the teams in the regular season.
"We have to move on," Selanne said. "Sunday is going to be a huge game. We can’t think about this game anymore. We just have to learn something from tonight and do things better on Sunday."
20:00 - END OF GAME - Anaheim's comeback bid fails, as they fall to the Sharks 3-1, snapping the Ducks' 10-game winning streak at Honda Center. It's been a pleasure filling in for Adam. I wish I had brought better luck. Maybe next time.
19:15 - Sean O'Donnell makes a nice play to stop the Sharks from putting it in the empty net, as the Ducks have an extra man out.
18:00 - The Ducks have two minutes to come up with a miracle. Some of the fans are hitting the exits. Personally, I never leave until the end of games when attending as a fan because you just never know.
16:09 - Bobby Ryan
slips by the Sharks defense and gets a shot off that Boucher gloves again. Of the seven Ducks' shots in the period, Ryan must have at least three or four.
14:57 - We've got nearly five minutes left at a break and the Ducks need to get moving if they want to tie this thing.
13:10 - Kent Huskins turns it over right in front of Jonas Hiller
in the slot and onto the stick of Christian Erhoff, who snaps a shot off that sails wide.
11:15 - Bobby Ryan
delivers a crushing hit to Semenov as he tries to direct the puck up ice. If goals were highlight hits in tonight's game, the Ducks would be winning in a blowout. As we have it, it's not, and they trail by two.
I hadn't noticed for some reason, but there's four tennis balls tonight. Is that like one of those cans that's oversized? Anybody remember those from Big 5? I do, but I used to play tennis.
6:36 - Bertuzzi finds Scotty for an open one-timer at the right circle, but the dynamic d-man hits the left post. What did I say about hearing that noise when it's the Ducks? My heart sinks every time.
5:10 - Bobby Ryan
sends a slapper at net that Boucher gloves. I like that the rookie is trying to get involved.
4:00 - The Ducks have two shots already in the third period, so at least there is already improvement over the last game against San Jose, right? I'm trying to think optimistic at the moment.
2:20 - Bobby Ryan
makes a move down the right side, but the puck is poked away by Semenov. Any chance a few pucks go off Semenov's skate and into the goal like it did back on Jan. 13?
0:00 - The third period is underway with the Ducks needing two to tie.
20:00 - The Sharks dominate the period with two goals while outshooting the Anaheim 15-6 during the 20 minutes. The Ducks will have their hands full in the third period if they want to give San Jose their first loss in regulation since Feb. 20.
19:03 - Schneider sends a one-timer to the net that misses while Bertuzzi and Scotty tussle for the rebound to no avail.
18:25 - The Ducks begin the power play with a turnover in their zone. Not good.
17:56 - SJ Penalty Patrick Marleau, 2 min holding. The Ducks have a 4-on-3 as they look to get at least one in a comeback bid.
17:06 - ANA Penalty George Parros
, 2 min. roughing and SJ Penalty Jody Shelley, roughing. The fisticuffs after the goal results in the penalties.
17:06 - SAN JOSE GOAL - CURTIS BROWN. Pavelski tries a wraparound on the left side of the net that Hiller initially stops, but Curtis Brown is there for the rebound to make the score 3-1 Sharks. The Ducks and Sharks duke it out after the goal with Parros trying to get some swings in on Shelley.
16:30 - We nearly have a Parros-Shelley bout, which everybody has expected, but the gloves don't quite get off.
16:06 - Roenick makes a nice move around Huskins and gets a shot off on Hiller, but the Swiss goalie eats it up.
15:24 - Brad May tries to find Travis Moen in the slot on a wraparound pass, but the pass streaks by before it can reach the farmer.
13:30 - Marc-Andre Bergeron and Mathieu Schneider tag team to nail San Jose's Torrey Mitchell on the right side of the ice near the neutral zone. The crowd erupts upon seeing Mitchell upended.
13:20 - The Ducks get through Sammy's penalty with no further damage.
11:10 - SAN JOSE PP GOAL - JEREMY ROENICK. Just as Anaheim takes another penalty, Joe Pavelski sends a slapper at the net and Roenick cleans it up to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead. Brian Campbell, who is looking to be a nice addition, gets the second assist for feeding Pavelski on the play. Penalties doom the Ducks here.
11:10 - ANA Penalty Samuel Pahlsson, 2 min. hooking.
10:40 - ANA penalty - Doug Weight, 2 min interference. Sean O'Donnell nearly turns the puck over to Patrick Marleau in Anaheim's zone right in the slot. Right near the action Doug Weight collides with Joe Pavelski and the penalty is issued. Weight's not happy with the call, as he gives the ref some thoughts on the way to the box.
By the way, just a quick note on Jonas Hiller while we're in the break. DId you know the goaltender enjoys sailing? It's one of his hobbies in the offseason. I wonder if he and Joey from Friends would get along. Too bad Joey had to sell the boat. FYI, I love Friends more than Adam enjoys Seinfeld. Let's get back to the game.
8:40 - Chris Kunitz gets pushed into the boards by Alexei Semenov. There's some extra shoving going on and the fans want a penalty, but one is not given. The Sharks still have Kunitz on their mind it seems.
7:40 - Marc-Andre Bergeron absolutely blasts two rockets from the right circle that blow wide of Boucher. That guy can hit a puck.
6:45 - The Sharks are unable to capitalize with the mad advantage. Job well done by the Ducks' PK even though a majority of the time the puck was in their zone.
5:50 - The Sharks spend over a minute in Anaheim's zone before they can clear it. The PK luckily gets a change in.
4:45 - ANA Penalty - Mathieu Schneider, 2 min. hooking. The Ducks go a man down for the first time tonight.
2:55 - Travis Moen sends a shot at Boucher from the right circle that bounces off the goalie's pads. Samuel Pahlsson tries to get to the rebound, but is unable to do so.
1:11 - San Jose's Marcel Goc bangs a shot from the left circle that rattles off the left post. I only like that sound when it's the other team doing it.
0:00 - And we're back! Does anybody remember that Jimmy Fallon skit on Saturday Night Live. It's a classic, especially the one with Ben Affleck. Anyway, enough with the jokes, let's take the lead.
Looks like Dallas is interested in tonight's matchup, as I notice both co-General Manager Brett Hull and head coach Dave Tippett during the intermission. See you again on Sunday boys!
20:00 - After giving up the first goal of the game to Marleau, the Ducks tie it up on Scotty's power play tally. The Ducks outshoot the Sharks 8-6 in the period, which of course is encouraging.
19:40 - Scott Niedermayer makes a sweet pass from behind the net through the crease where his brother Rob Niedermayer is stationed, but the puck sails past him denying a solid chance at taking the lead.
16:45 - The dangerous Joe Thornton gets a point-blank shot from the slot, but Hiller denies him.
16:20 - The Ducks can't slip one by Boucher on this power play.
15:02 - Teemu tries to pounce on a rebound off a Chris Kunitz shot from the left side of net, but Boucher nabs it.
14:20 - SJ Penalty - Christian Erhoff, 2 min. holding the stick. Erhoff gets his second trip to the box in the period. The Ducks are back on the power play. Let's hope they convert like they did on the first one.
A stat is shown on television during the break that the Ducks have the third-best record in the league when scoring on the power play at 30-8-3. That's a good sign. I hope it continues tonight.
11:09 - ANAHEIM PP GOAL - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER. On the power play, Schneider takes the puck from Bobby Ryan at the right circle and sends it to Scott Niedermayer in the slot. Niedermayer flicks it at the net and it gets by Boucher for his eighth goal on the season. How good is Scotty people? We're tied 1-1 in the first period. Schneider records the 700th point of his career with the assist. Not a shabby career for the 18-year veteran. One of my favorite players, by the way.
During the break, the always entertaining kiss cam is shown. I love that thing as much as Adam. One woman turns in disgust and another puts her hands over her face. Rough night for the fellas. There's always Sunday gentlemen.
10:26 - SJ penalty Christian Erhoff, 2 min. high-sticking.
10:20 - Rob Niedermayer delivers a big hit to Erhoff on the boards, much to the delight of the Honda Center crowd.
8:15 - Teemu Selanne
streaks down the left side and behind the Sharks net, but can't get the right angle to fire a shot off.
6:38 - SAN JOSE GOAL - Patrick Marleau - Marleau gets his 17th of the year on a pass into the slot from Christian Erhoff. The Sharks' captain beats Hiller during some four-on-four to make the score 1-0.. Second assist is to Joe Pavelski on the play.
6:15 - ANA penalty Travis Moen, 2 min. roughing and SJ penalty Jody Shelley, 2 min. roughing.
6:15 - Travis Moen feeds Samuel Pahlsson in front of the Sharks' net but Boucher stops it. There's some pushing between the teams after the whistle. It's no secret folks, these teams do not like each other.
4:30 - Chris Kunitz gets a little shove from Jody Shelley, which might be in response to Jonathan Cheechoo.
3:05 - San Jose's Milan Michalek look to have a breakway but loses the puck before he can get a shot off.
2:40 - The Ducks just recorded a shot on goal. That is pleasing.
2:18 - Anaheim still looking to get a shot on goal against the Sharks. Last time the teams met on March 21, the Ducks were blanked in the third period.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center with the Ducks looking to close the gap in the Pacific Division.
7:07 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere gets a well-deserved tribute prior to the puck drop for setting new franchise marks in shutouts and wins surpassing Guy Hebert in both categories. Giggy gets a nice plaque and a silver stick. Fans in attendance give him a standing ovation. I must admit I have goose bumps, but that happens a lot.
Much like Jonas Hiller is doing for Jean-Sebastien Giguere tonight, I'm taking over for Adam Brady, so enjoy. Although Giguere is dressed, the Ducks are keeping with the hot hand of Hiller, who has saved 102 of 106 shots in the last three games. Ryan Getzlaf is not dressed and will miss his third game in a row.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; SJ Brian Boucher
Starting Skaters - ANA Travis Moen, Samuel Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer, Scott Niedermayer, Francois Beauchemin; SJ Milan Michalek, Joe Thornton, Jeremy Roenick, Douglas Murray, Brian Campbell
Scratches - ANA Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Corey Perry
, Ryan Getzlaf
, Chris Pronger, Joe DiPenta; SJ Jonathan Cheechoo, Devin Setoguchi, Matt Carle, Sandis Ozolinsh, Ryane Clowe, Craig Rivet