Ducks 4, Sharks 2
The Anaheim Ducks haven’t had much to pat themselves on the back
about. A great deal of their misery has been caused by the San Jose
But Anaheim’s 4-2 victory over the Western Conference leaders
Sunday night salvaged a shred of dignity for the Ducks, who avoided
getting swept by their Pacific Division rivals in a six-game season
series for the third time.
Teemu Selanne scored his 599th goal to help the Ducks snap a
five-game winless streak that for all intents and purposes has put
them out of playoff contention.
Anaheim eliminated San Jose in the first round last year in the
playoffs as the eighth seed in the conference after the Sharks
entered the postseason with the NHL’s best record for the first
time in franchise history.
“We’ve had bigger concerns than that specific statistic at this
point,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said when asked if avoiding the
goose egg against San Jose helped fuel their effort. “We were just
worried about winning the next one and the next one. We’ve proven
to ourselves that we can play at a high level if we focus and get
our mindset right. The work ethic is not something that’s just
going to happen.”
The Sharks and Ducks each sent eight players to the Olympics,
tying for the most in the league, but the teams are separated by 26
points in the standings.
“This year, they’ve had our number, so it’s nice to at least
get one off of them,” captain Scott Niedermayer said. “We know we
can play like this, but there’s not much we can do now about what
has happened. We played with a little more energy, something we’ve
been missing the last few games.”
Selanne gave the Ducks a scare early in the third period, when
his head and left shoulder slammed into the end boards after he
failed to convert a pass from Saku Koivu and lost his balance.
Selanne remained on the ice hunched over for a couple of minutes
before making it back to the dressing room under his own power, but
did not return. The club is calling it an upper-body injury, but
gave no further details, and said Selanne will undergo tests
Jonas Hiller made 31 saves, Corey Perry generated a three-goal
first period with his 24th of the season, and Lubomir Visnovsky had
his third goal in five games since joining Anaheim in a trade with
Edmonton on March 3. Bobby Ryan scored into an empty net with 1:13
Joe Thornton and Jamie McGinn scored third-period goals for the
Sharks, who began a six-game trip with their second straight loss.
They still lead the conference by two points over Chicago and trail
Washington by five points in their quest for a second straight
Presidents’ Trophy. No Western Conference team has had the best
overall record in consecutive seasons since the 1997-98 and 1998-99
“I think we can live with a loss if we’re working our butts
off, but we cannot not work hard,” defenseman Dan Boyle said.
“Even though we’re sitting in a good position, we were in the same
position last year. If we’re going to coast, we’re going to coast
downhill. Our effort wasn’t there tonight. Everybody needs to show
up and make a difference. When only half the team shows up, that’s
The Ducks didn’t score more than two goals against Evgeni
Nabokov in any of the other five meetings. But they connected on
three of their first 10 shots against the two-time All-Star, who
surrendered five goals against Nashville in his previous start
Tuesday night before his teammates rallied with six in the third
period for an 8-5 win.
Perry scored at 3:27 of the first, converting a rebound after
Nabokov made a leg save on Ryan’s scoring attempt from the edge of
the crease. Selanne made it 2-0 at 7:40 with his 21st goal,
carrying the puck from the Anaheim zone into the Sharks’ end, then
leaving a drop pass for Koivu and one-timing Koivu’s return feed
past Nabokov’s glove.
“We have to realize one thing – that teams are going to be
desperate,” said Nabokov, who has allowed 15 goals in five games
with the Sharks since his poor showing against Canada in the
Olympics. “We are facing only desperate teams, so we have to be
prepared and play almost as desperate as they are – because if we
don’t match their work ethic, we are not going to win.”
Visnovsky got Anaheim’s third goal just 55 seconds before the
first intermission, going for the glove side on Nabokov with a
50-foot slap shot that broke off the goalie’s left arm and trickled
into the net.
NOTES: Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf also left the game early in the
third after reinjuring his left ankle, the same one that bothered
him just before the Olympics. He’s listed as day-to-day and will be
evaluated on Monday. … Selanne’s assist on Visnovsky’s goal was
the 646th of his career, breaking a tie with Bobby Orr for 57th
place. Orr played in only 657 games, compared to Selanne’s 1,174.
… The Sharks were 6-0 against Anaheim in 1997-98 and 1993-94, the
Ducks’ inaugural campaign.