There was a time, as recently as last season, when games against the Ducks were as good as automatic losses built into the Sharks' schedule. That was as far from the case as possible this year and the Sharks cemented the new balance of power in games between these fierce rivals with an emphatic finish to Anaheim and San Jose's regular season series, dismantling the Ducks by a 6-3 final score tonight at the Tank.
In all, the Sharks will finish the year with a 4-0-1 record against Anaheim, having outscored them 22-11 over those five games. Some of San Jose's most dominant showings of the 2014-15 season have come against the Ducks but none more so than tonight's trouncing. After a back-and-forth first period that saw the teams knotted at two, the Sharks completely took over in the second.
Barclay Goodrow chipped the puck past Hampus Lindholm, streaked down the right wing and beat Ilya Bryzgalov for his third NHL goal. Patrick Marleau, a force to be reckoned with all night, tipped in a Brent Burns shot on a subsequent power play before tagging up at the blueline minutes later to allow for a Matt Irwin goal. Goodrow again figured in the scoring on an odd-man rush, setting up James Sheppard to make it 5-1 Sharks before Matt Beleskey embarrassingly sent the puck, and himself, into his own net while trying to block a Brenden Dillon pass with the Sharks shorthanded.
- You know the Sharks are kicking ass when Jeremy Roenick and Mike Milbury, of all people, devote huge chunks of the intermission and postgame report to putting over Patrick Marleau. Milbury said after the game that Marleau belongs in the Hall Of Fame. Seriously, Mike Milbury.
- Marleau admittedly made it easy with one of his best games of the season. He had six shots, two points and was seemingly setting up a scoring chance every time he touched the puck, particularly on the power play.
- As unsavory as they look on paper, the fourth line of Scott-Desjardins-McGinn established a legitimate offensive-zone presence tonight, even when matched up against a vastly superior Ducks line of Rene Bourque, Nate Thompson and Devante Smith-Pelly. Scott had two scoring chances in this game which certainly speaks to how terrible the Ducks were but also to how unexpectedly effective that line was.
- Scott Hannan can't defend, or skate, or move the puck, but his finger-pointing ability is elite. Great job by the veteran pointing to no one in particular at Patrick Maroon to indicate he wasn't going to cover the Ducks forward seconds before he scored to make it 6-3 late.
- Did Corey Perry actually play tonight? That's the most invisible he (and, to a lesser extent, Ryan Getzlaf) has been in a game against the Sharks for as long as I can remember. We didn't even get treated to the requisite end-of-loss tantrum.
- This should teach the Ducks to start their backup goalie against the Sharks. Granted, that's probably a good thing for San Jose given their usual track record against #2 netminders.
FTF Three Stars
1st Star: Patrick Marleau
2nd Star: Barclay Goodrow
3rd Star: James Sheppard