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

Sharks.

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

Monday.

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

remaining.

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

Dallas Stars.

“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

a problem.”

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.