The San Jose Sharks (49-22-9, 107 points) fell to the Anaheim Ducks (52-20-8, 112 points) by the final score of 5-2 in the final meeting of the season between these two clubs. The loss now means the Ducks win the Pacific Division and means the Sharks will face the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs.
This evening Bracken Kearns was re-insterted into the lineup in place of Martin Havlat after he was recalled from Worcester. Also, Antti Niemi got the start this evening, but was on a short leash and subsequently pulled after he allowed his third goal midway the second period. At this point in the season it is a bit disheartening when you starting goaltender gets yanked after letting in a couple of ‘softies’ so no doubt there is cause for concern there.
Lastly, the power play failed to generate any goals despite the five chances they were given throughout the game. That isn’t to say that they did not generate chances, it’s just the goals weren’t there. On the flipside the penalty kill was good and stifled all three Anaheim man-advantages.
It took a while for the goal-scoring to pick up, but eventually it did when Jason Demers started it off with his fifth goal of the season. Unfortunately the Ducks’ Corey Perry answered one minute and 40 seconds later, with three seconds left in the period, to tie the game at one apiece landing a blow the the San Jose Sharks who were looking to enter the locker room with the lead.
The big period for the Ducks was the second period where they score three goals including two from Patrick Maroon. His second goal, which was the one that got Niemi pulled, came from in close and squeaked through his pads. Todd McLellan wasted no time in motioning to his backup Alex Stalock to get ready to get on the ice following the goal.
The goaltender change did not completely stop the bleeding though as Anaheim was able to score once more on a Matt Beleskey goal after Brent Burns was caught guarding him at the end of his shift without a stick. Beleskey took advantage and beat Stalock short-side making it 4-2 after two periods. Lost in the mix was a Logan Couture goal which tied the game at two before Maroon’s second goal.
In the final stanza the Anaheim defense was just too much, and even with a six-on-four advantage (a Ducks penalty and a pulled Stalock) the San Jose Sharks were unable to score in the waning moments of the game. Instead the Ducks put the final nail in the coffin and by scoring an empty netter eventually pushing the final score to 5-2.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Patrick Maroon (2 goals)
2. Matt Beleskey (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Corey Perry (1 goal, 1 assist)