By Adam Brady (email@example.com)
ANAHEIM – Just when the Ducks may have thought it couldn't get any better than trouncing the rival Kings at home, they may have provided themselves a feeling that comes awfully close.
The Ducks got third period goals from Saku Koivu and Sheldon Souray in handing the Sharks their first regulation loss of the season, 2-1 at Honda Center. Anaheim improved to 6-1-1 (its best start since the Cup season of 2006-07) and the Sharks dropped to 7-1-1.
Viktor Fasth earned his third win in three NHL starts, saving 25-of-26 San Jose shots and making a number of gutty stops in crunch time with the Sharks trying to get even.
And speaking of getting even, this win took the sting out of a shootout loss to the Sharks a week ago in San Jose, a game in which the Ducks held the lead with less than three minutes remaining.
"It just shows we can compete with every team in the league," Souray said. "San Jose is a great team and we played them hard last game and didn’t get the results. We wanted to play hard tonight and try to get a different result, and we did that."
With tonight’s game tied at a goal apiece, San Jose iced the puck twice in a matter of seconds with about seven minutes remaining and weren’t allowed to make a line change because of it. The Ducks took advantage of the matchup opportunity, putting their top unit on the ice (which included rookie Emerson Etem with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry). It paid off soon afterward, as Souray took in a Francois Beauchemin pass at the point and unleashed a rocket that sailed over the glove of goalie Thomas Greiss and gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead.
"We were just trying to get it on net. We had some traffic in front," Souray said. "Beauch made a great play; showed a lot of patience there on that play. [He] kept it and made guys commit to him and left me open."
After not catching too many breaks in the first 43 minutes, the Ducks got a huge gift 3:53 into the third to tie the game 1-1. Tommy Wingels attempted to dump the puck off the wall behind the Sharks net, and it hit something in the base of the board and ricocheted into the crease. Saku Koivu was in the right place at the right time to punch it past an unaware Greiss.
"[Daniel] Winnik actually did the original forecheck and put pressure on their [defense], so they had to throw the puck hard around the boards," Koivu said. "I don’t know if it hit their d-man or the boards. We tried to maintain that pressure and it was my job to get deep there and not behind the net. Out of nowhere, the puck is bouncing and on my stick."
The Ducks had a handful of good scoring chances in the first two periods, notably the second, but couldn’t get anything past Greiss (starting in place of No. 1 Antti Niemi). Meanwhile, San Jose managed the only scoring of the opening 40 minutes, as Logan Couture swept in a rebound right in front with 1:52 left in the second.
That was the only blemish on the night for Fasth, who got the nod over No. 1 Jonas Hiller tonight.
"They’re a tough team," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "Tonight, we got a few bounces our way in the last five minutes. They pressed hard. I’m hoping that all the games against these guys are this close. It means we’re getting better every game, so that’s good.
"This was a big game for us. We were emotionally into it. San Jose is another California team and they’ve been known to be great for many years, so it’s not hard to get up for them."
The Ducks finished off three home games in four nights with a perfect 3-0-0 run, and now hit the road for two weeks, starting Wednesday in Colorado.
Winning their third straight contest, the Ducks’ 6-1-1 record (13 points) through eight games is the club’s best start to a season since 2006-07 (6-0-2, 14 points). The club has also won four straight at HOME.
The Ducks 4-1-0 (8 points) start at HOME equals the best start in franchise history (four other occasions).
Anaheim’s 29 goals through the first eight games are the most in franchise history (previously 24, 2006-07).
Anaheim has improved its record to 7-1-1 against San Jose over the last nine contests between the two clubs. Additionally, the Ducks have won four of the last five vs. the Sharks at Honda Center (4-1-0).
Recording his third consecutive win tonight, Viktor Fasth is the first goaltender in Ducks history to win his first three career NHL contests. In addition, he is just the third goaltender in club history to win his first three decisions as a Duck (also Ray Emery in 2010-11, 6 consecutive wins; Curtis McElhinney in 2009-10, 4 consecutive wins). Over his three appearances, Fasth has stopped 70-of-74 shots for a 1.30 GAA (4 GA/185 MIN) and .946 SV%.
Sheldon Souray has scored goals in consecutive games (2-0=2) for the first time since Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 2011 with Dallas (also 2-0=2). It marked his first game-winning goal since Oct. 15, 2011 in the Stars’ 4-2 victory over Columbus.
Saku Koivu scored his second goal of the season, now sharing the team-lead in points (2-7=9) with Teemu Selanne. Koivu has earned points in two straight (1-1=2) and in four of the last five contests (1-4=5).
Ryan Getzlaf extended his point streak to four games (1-3=4) with an assist on Souray’s game-winning goal.
Tonight’s attendance was 14,324.
20:00 - Ducks tie up the puck outside their zone and this one's over. Ducks win it 2-1, hand Sharks first regulation loss.
19:47 - San Jose goes offside with 12.5 left. Still nervous time.
19:20 - Fasth with the stop and hold on a Couture slapper with 39.3 left. Ducks can change now.
19:06 - Lydman ices it from deep in the corner with 53.1 left. Timeout Anaheim.
18:45 - Greiss to the bench just as the PP ends.
18:09 - Fasth AGAIN with the stop in traffic, then smothers it with 28 seconds left in the PP.
17:22 - Fasth with yet another nice stop, this time on Marleau, and he covers it. Timeout San Jose.
16:36 - ANA Penalty - Bryan Allen, 2 min. cross checking. Allen sends Couture down in front of the Anaheim net. Tough penalty to take right there.
16:15 - Perry with a couple of opportunities, but comes up empty. Whiffed on a nice pass by Etem that was tipped before it got to him.
14:30 - Ryan nearly gets in alone after chasing down a flying puck, but it's knocked away from him at the last second.
13:21 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SHELDON SOURAY - And there it is. Beauchemin goes D to D to Souray, who unleashes a rocket of a slap shot that sizzles over the glove of Greiss. Gargantuan goal and it's 2-1 Ducks.
12:58 - Sharks ice it twice in a span of seconds. Ducks put the top line out there (Etem now with the twins) against a Sharks unit that can't change. Big opportunity.
10:13 - Ducks can't make it happen on the 5 on 3. Big opportunity gets away.
9:30 - Souray with a giveaway to Marleau, sending him on a brekaway, but Fasth bails him out with a tremendous diving poke check. No official save there, but he might have saved the game.
8:13 - SJS Penalty - Joe Pavelski, 2 min. delay of game. Fans want a delay of game when Pavelski chips it over the glass, but it looked like it hit Beauchemin's stick on the way out. Officials change their mind and bring Pavelski off the bench and into the box.
7:49 - SJS Penalty - Michal Handzus, 2 min. hooking. The former King gives the Ducks a power play chance.
Still not sure what that puck could have hit to make it redirect in front of the goal. Hit the base of the wall, (the yellow part) not a seam in the glass or anything.
7:06 - Fasth with ANOTHER big save, this one on Vlasic.
5:56 - Fasth with a beautiful stop on Havlat, who was unchecked and waited patiently to deliver a backhand.
5:05 - Perry nearly gets one shorthanded, but Greiss snaps the pads shut.
4:24 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. interference. Beauchemin takes down Pavelski in the slot.
3:53 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SAKU KOIVU After not catching a break for almost 44 minutes, Ducks get a huge gift. Wingels tries to chip the puck off the wall behind the net, and it hits something in the base of the board and bounces right into the crease, where Koivu punches it past the feet of a completely unaware Greiss. We're tied.
3:10 - Etem goes sweeping into the crease, but gets robbed on the doorstep by Greiss. Knob of the stick stopped Etem from getting the first of his career.
Dude in a Dan Winnik jerseys pounding on the glass when the puck comes over there. He bought that jersey in a hurry.
0:00 - Here we go in what I'm hoping is a thrilling third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks with plenty of chances, but can't get one through and it remains 1-0.
19:29 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Souray, 2 min. tripping. Ducks power play wiped out in a hurry.
19:17 - SJS Penalty - Tommy Wingels, 2 min. hooking. Wingels gets a little chippy on Ryan and the Ducks have a couple of big chances during the delayed whistle. Greiss standing strong.
16:30 - Getzlaf nearly gets one shorthanded, but Greiss with a nice kick save. Winnik's rebound try goes just wide.
16:13 - ANA Penalty - Bryan Allen, 2 min. interference. Just like that, another SJ power play.
15:05 - Selanne nearly sneaks it around the left post on the wraparound. He's good.
14:44 - Ducks with a big kill there. Tough to go down 2 goals in this type of game.
12:44 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. interference. Somewhere in that flurry around the San Jose net, Koivu gets a penalty he doesn't care for.
12:35 - Cogliano has a wide open net in front of him after a Greiss kick save and gets denied at the last second by a diving Demers. Unreal.
12:29 - Cogliano with a nice pass to Koivu and I'm not sure where that one-timer missed.
11:30 - Fasth with a beauty of a blocker save on a Marleu one-timer on the rush.
7:07 - Ryan tries slaloming up the ice and Havlat sends him flying.
7:00 - Ducks catch a little break when Wingels gets a nice pass on the doorstep, but it slips off his stick. Just as frustrating when you reach deep into that cylinder can and there are only chip crumbs left in it.
2:57 - Ducks with a couple of shots at it on the doorstep, but Greiss stops both Etem and Staubitz. Little rumble after the whistle, but not much to it.
0:00 - Off and running in the second, the Sharks on a shorthish power play.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Couture does the only scoring of the first period to give the Sharks a 1-0 cushion. They'll have 22 more seconds of power play time when we come back.
18:22 - ANA Penalty - Bryan Allen, 2 min. holding. First PP for SJ as Allen grabs a handful of Wingels.
18:08 - SAN JOSE GOAL - LOGAN COUTURE - Couture breaks the scoring ice when he gathers in a juicy rebound off Fasth and backhands it past him. It's 1-0 SJ.
16:59 - Ducks don't get a lot going on that power play. Ofer two so far.
14:59 - SJS Penalty - Tommy Wingels, 2 min. tripping. Wingels (rhymes with my favorite chip) trips up Cogliano with the blade.
11:20 - SJS Penalty - Ryan Clowe, 2 min. instigating, 5 min. fighting and 10 min. misconduct. A little excitement finally enters this game, as Beleskey and Clowe drop the gloves after Clowe challenges him. Not a lot landed before Clowe takes him down to the sheet. They'll each get five minutes to think about what they did. All started when Beleskey took Murray into the wall, although Murray looked like he went down on his own. beleskey did hit Clowe earlier.
7:10 - Fasth with a couple of stops early.
3:40 - Ducks just miss on a tip try off a Souray shot, drawing an audible "aww" from the crowd. Maybe the bench too. Hard to tell.
2:40 - First shot of the night goes to Bryan Allen.
2:30 - Not a lot to report as of yet.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
Pregame I'm not much of a kid person, but I still think having Mite players come out and stand next to the #NHLDucks during the anthem is cute as hell.
It's a battle of backups, as Fasth gets the nod for Anaheim and Greiss is in net for SJ.
Starters in bold/italics.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
PATRICK MARLEAU (A)
JOE THORNTON (C)
RYANE CLOWE (A)
TEEMU SELANNE (A)
SAKU KOIVU (A)
RYAN GETZLAF (C)
Backhand shot -