By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – On a night when the Ducks did so many things right, they didn’t have an answer for San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov.
The seven-year veteran stopped all 34 Anaheim shots and former Duck Travis Moen scored the only goal the Sharks would need in a 1-0 Ducks defeat at Honda Center.
|The Ducks couldn't find a way to beat Nabokov, who had 34 saves for his second straight shutout of Anaheim.
It was the sixth shutout of the season for Nabokov, 46th of his career, and second straight against the Ducks (also Dec. 11 in San Jose). The native of Kazakhstan was playing his second game in as many nights after missing the previous seven with the flu and a lower body injury. He only gave up one goal last night in a 2-1 shootout victory in Los Angeles.
"I think we did everything right except we couldn’t score any goals," said Ducks winger Teemu Selanne. "We had so many great chances. Those guys have one of the best records in the league and we had no problem playing against them, so that is a good sign."
Tonight’s win clinched a playoff berth for San Jose, which has been at or near the top of the Western Conference standings all season. The Ducks, meanwhile, now face an even tougher challenge to nab one of the remaining postseason spots in the West. They came into the game 12th in the conference, three points out of the eighth slot currently held by Edmonton.
The Ducks and Sharks went nearly the first 39 minutes without a goal until San Jose got an ugly one with 1:02 left in the second period. From the left wing circle, Jamie McGinn threw the puck to the front of the net, where Moen redirected it off the front of Ryan Whitney’s body an into the net.
"A typical example of when things aren’t going your way," Selanne called the goal. "It’s frustrating."
|Former Duck Moen's goal that bounced off Ryan Whitney was all San Jose would need.
Moen was traded by the Ducks last March 4 with Kent Huskins for two prospects -- center Nick Bonino and goaltender Timo Pielmeier -- along with a conditional draft pick. He was recognized by the Ducks during the first timeout of the game with a montage of highlights from his Ducks career on the video board, followed by an ovation from the crowd (which he acknowledged with a wave). Huskins wasn’t on the trip with the Sharks as he still recovers from a foot injury.
Moen's goal was the only thing that got past Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller on the night, as he was very solid on his way to 29 saves.
"We didn’t deserve to lose today," Hiller said. "I thought we played pretty well. But if you don’t score, it’s tough to win. They had some chances, but I think defensively we played pretty solid and we had some chances in their end."
The Ducks were able to kill off four San Jose penalties in the game, but came up empty on the four power play opportunities of their own, making them 0 for their last 21 in that category.
Anaheim won’t have a chance to bounce back until Wednesday night, when they take on the Nashville Predators at Honda Center.
"We just have to stay confident," Selanne said. "Wednesday is another chance. If you look at the teams we play against, they are exactly who we want to beat. Against San Jose, this would be a bonus for us. From now on, it’s playoffs. If we play like this, there is no team that can beat us. We just have to believe that and play like that."
Added Hiller, "We just have to keep working. I bet the luck is going to come back."
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks can't get a shot on net in the final 46.4 and they fall 1-0 to the Sharks.
19:13 - San Jose ices it seconds after Hiller heads to the bench. Faceoff in the San Jose end with 46.4 remaining.
18:09 - Ducks can't do it on the power play again. It's desperation time now.
17:25 - A tussle around the net after Nabokov just does manage to smother a loose puck in front, as Ryan desperately tries to jab at it.
17:05 - Selanne finally sees some room, but his shot hits Nabokov and then the post.
16:09 - SJ Penalty - Alexei Semenov, 2 min. interference. Ducks have to get one here.
14:04 - Ryan is robbed by Naby on a shot from the slot.
9:21 - Ducks can't cash in as the penalty runs out, though they had their chances.
8:44 - Nabokov keeps it going, first on an Ebbett redirect and then on a Perry try from point blank. During a scuffle in front of the net, Perry gets his helmet ripped off by Dan Boyle. No penalties. Of course not.
7:54 - Nabokov has been unfortunately phenomenal tonight, playing the second of back-to-back nights after coming back from an injury. He makes two big saves at the beginning of the PP.
7:21 - SJ Penalty - Joe Pavelski, 2 min. holding. Pavelski grabs onto Getzlaf as he struggles up the left wing.
6:08 - The Ducks catch another break when the puck is loose in front of the net and a Cheechoo try goes wide.
3:55 - Selanne reaches out for a one-timer and he's robbed by Nabokov.
3:02 - Another nice kill for Anaheim. Going down 2-0 in this kind of game would not be good.
1:02 - ANA Penalty - Erik Christensen, 2 min. interference. Christensen has a look on his face like his parents just sent him to bed without dinner. Probably because it wasn't really a penalty.
0:45 - Does Mike Brown ever get tired? He works his rear off chasing a puck behind the net to keep it alive in the San Jose zone.
Just saw Nashville coach Barry Trotz up here in the press box, as they're already in town since the Preds play the Kings tomorrow night. Got a nice close-up view of his giant head and lack of a neck. It's truly a sight.
0:00 - Here we go in the third, the Ducks looking for the equalizer.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks work for it, but again come up empty on the scoreboard, as San Jose gets a cheap one to take a 1-0 lead.
18:58 - SAN JOSE GOAL - TRAVIS MOEN - From the left wing circle, Jamie McGinn backhands the puck toward the front of the net and Moen redirects it right off Whitney into the net as Hiller was fooled by the change of direction. Ugly goal and bad break for Anaheim. It's 1-0.
16:45 - Ryan tries a wraparound that caroms off Nabokov, and Selanne tries to punch in the rebound but misses the puck.
15:22 - SJ Penalty - Alexei Semenov, 2 min. roughing. Semenov knocks down Selanne in front of the SJ net after a Nabokov save.
14:31 - Huge kill for Anaheim as Marchant whips it out of the zone with a few seconds left on the penalty.
12:31 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. hooking.
12:00 - Scotty back on the ice.
During Kiss Cam time, a dude goes to smooch his girl, but she's not into it, turning her head on him. That doesn't stop him as he pretty much sexually assaults the side of her face. I do hope they're not strangers.
10:20 - Scotty Niedermayer looks like he might have gotten hurt. He's limping a bit and is off to the locker room.
9:20 - The Ducks get a break when a Cheechoo backhand try bounces off Hiller and hangs in the air in front of the net, just to get knocked away at the last second.
7:45 - The Ducks have a chance when Selanne gets room on right wing. His shot is kicked away by Nabokov for a fat rebound in the middle of the ice, but no Duck is there.
During the timeout, HIller stays loose by slowly skating from the Ducks bench to the penalty box and back. You don't see that very often.
5:15 - Nabokov loses his stick behind the net, but the Ducks can't do anything about it.
1:20 - Running up the middle of the ice, Christensen feeds Perry on the right wing, but Nabokov is in perfect position to kick away Perry's try.
0:00 - Off and running in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Nothing on the scoreboard, but the Ducks look very good early, outshooting San Jose 12-7 and working hard throughout the 20 minutes.
17:09 - The Sharks kill it, making the Ducks 0 for their last 18 on the power play.
It's trivia time and the dude is asked, who was the first Ducks rookie to get a hat trick. Choices are Kariya, Rucchin and Bobby Ryan. He quickly yells out Ryan and he's right! We remember that one, a couple of months ago against the Kings.
15:09 - SJ Penalty - Alexei Semenov, 2 min. hooking. Perry nearly punches it in on a nice Getzlaf feed from behind the cage, but while the save is made, they at least draw the penalty.
14:23 - Hiller makes another nice stop up high on a Semenov slap shot from the point.
13:20 - Hiller makes a big save on a heavy shot, and the Ducks block the follow-ups to escape.
12:25 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. slashing. Wisniewski gets hit in the neck by a high stick and goes down, but somewhere in there, Getzlaf slashed a stick in half.
11:15 - Ryan skates his way to some room and slings a shot on net that Nabokov has to kick save.
9:10 - George Parros
, who hasn't dropped the gloves in awhile, gets into it with fellow fighter Jody Shelley. Both land a couple of good blows before Parros drags him to the ice, to the approval of the home crowd and his teammates.
Nice montage of highlights to recognize Travis Moen and his first trip back here after the trade. He's shown on the bench, getting a tap on the head from new teammate Clowe and waving to the crowd, half of whom are standing and clapping. His old Ducks teammates tap the boards with their sticks on their side of the benches.
7:06 - Great job by Anaheim to keep the shots to a minumum (just two) during that power play.
5:06 - ANA Penalty - James Wisniewski
, 2 min. interference. Wisniewski turns the puck over to Pavelski and gets in his way as he heads the other way with it.
2:24 - Selanne whips it on net, and Nabokov gloves. Still, the Ducks are all over it early, outshooting San Jose, 4-0.
1:01 - Perry lays the puck in front of the net, where Christensen nearly chips it home, but Nabokov is there.
0:00 - We're underway at Honda Center in today's edition of "Biggest Game of the Year."
5:08 - Nice harmonic rendition of the anthem by the Good News Gospel Quartet. The funny thing is, the way they were standing, they seemed to get progressively heavier when you looked at them from left to right. Almost looked like a timeline of my life.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; SJ Evgeni Nabokov
Starting Skaters - ANA Chris Pronger, Ryan Whitney, Mike Brown, Todd Marchant
, Rob Niedermayer; SJ Douglas Murray, Dan Boyle, Joe Pasvelski, Milan Michalek, Ryane Clowe
Scratches - ANA Bret Hedican, Brett Festerling
; SJ Christian Ehrhoff, Claude Lemieux, Tomas Plihal