The San Jose Sharks (14-11-6) pick up a huge win in Anaheim against their southern California rivals the Ducks (22-6-4) to stay in the top eight in the Western Conference.
The Sharks, who took a 3-0 lead at the beginning of the second period, saw their lead dwindle to just one goal twice before they took the victory. In fact, they had to score their fourth goal twice because the first one was first called inconclusive following a replay after an initial ruling of a ‘no-goal’ by an official, thus none was allowed.
However, minutes after that goal was disallowed while the Sharks were on a power play, James Sheppard scored his first goal of the season and as a Shark when he fired a somewhat harmless puck at Anaheim goaltender Viktor Fasth. The goal was created by a great forecheck that led to a turnover which enabled Sheppard to grab the puck and throw it on net.
The Anaheim Ducks pushed even harder after the goal and were rewarded with a goal by Cory Perry with 1:41 left in regulation bringing the game to a 4-3 San Jose lead. Just prior to the goal they were held shotless for about nine and a half minutes of the third period, although the continued to have a plethora of scoring chances due to the many defensive zone turnovers committed by the Sharks.
After the goal a timeout was called by the Ducks to gather the troops for one last ditch effort but were unable to steal the game. In fact, Dan Boyle sealed the deal when he scored on an empty net from inside his own blue line with under a minute left in the game. From there San Jose could not be beaten and they won the game 5-3.
You have to give credit to San Jose for responding how they did right after the trade that occurred this afternoon. You had to wonder how the team would respond, but boy did they respond in a grand fashion. McLellan also did the right thing (in my opinion) by keeping Burns as a forward and letting the younger defensemen into the lineup. The decision payed off for him with Brent Burns adding another goal and an assist to his mounting stat totals since becoming a forward.
The other guy who was big for them on offense today was forward Martin Havlat who also finished with one goal and one assist and a +3 plus-minus rating, just as Burns did. He looked as good has he has all season and was even integral in the fourth goal where he was apart of the great forecheck that forced the turnover, then immediately after went to the front of the net and provided a partial screen.
It was a great win for San Jose, not only because it was the hated Ducks, but moreso because it gives them two more points in the playoff race. Also, the win is a definite confidence booster for a team that is in dire need of one. We can only hope it continues on Wednesday when these two teams meet again.
For the Ducks the loss is their third in a row and while it does not spell any sort of really bad news it is a bit worrisome for them to hit this losing streak at this time of the season. More importantly they continue to trail a few points behind the Blackhawks for that number one position in the west. Other than that though, they can definitely afford a few losses while they try to get everything back together.
Both teams will face each other again on Wednesday for the back half of the home-and-home, this time at HP Pavillion in San Jose. It will be the fifth and final meeting between the teams this season.
Golden Gate 3 Stars
1. Dan Boyle (1 goal, +4)
2. Martin Havlat (1 goal, 1 assist, +3)
3. Brent Burns (1 goal, 1 assist, +3)