After a lackluster performance against St. Louis, the Sharks (42-21-7) walked into a similar scenario tonight against a points hungry Ducks (37-23-11) team desperately trying to catch San Jose for the Pacific Division crown. Anaheim, like St. Louis, came into SAP for the second game of a back-to-back after dropping their contest with the Sabres last night in a shootout. With an almost identical scenario the Sharks ended up with the same result as they dropped a hard-luck loss to the Ducks 2-1.
The Sharks, not without something to play for in this game as well, suddenly close out a lengthy home-stand with two regulation losses and a daunting seven of their next eight games on the road. The game wasn’t exactly a must win scenario, but a win would’ve gone a long way towards feeding some good vibes heading into a rough back-end of the season’s schedule. Instead, the Ducks jump to within four points of the Sharks for the division lead and the Sharks head out on the road.
The Ducks desperation shone through early—39 seconds in to be exact—as the Ducks shiny new toy, Patrick Eaves, found pay dirt. Eaves got separation and Joe Pavelski couldn’t get enough wood on a crossing pass from behind the net and beat Martin Jones wide on his glove side.
The Sharks nearly tied the game up on the next shift, when Tomas Hertl launched a rocket off the post that’s still ringing through the Tank’s rafters as you read this recap. After, a few notable scoring opportunities, Martin Jones turned in a save of the night candidate with a slick kick save off a Jakob Silfverburg one-timer.
Shortly following an unconverted ultra-rare Micheal Haley one-on-none breakaway opportunity, the Sharks drew two Ducks penalties within 30 seconds of each other and went to work on a crucial two-man advantage. After some methodical puck movement, Joe Thornton did what Joe Thornton does and found a passing lane to Logan Couture that only he could see, and Couture roofed it past Jonathan Bernier to knot the game up at one.
Wait for it... Wait for it... pic.twitter.com/BRpaWAoH1M— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 19, 2017
For almost the entirety of the second period the Sharks dominated the pace of play, getting to pucks faster and playing more physical than the Ducks. However, as it sometimes goes in this fickle game, the score sheet doesn’t always identify the better team. Jakob Silfverburg found pay dirt on a breakaway goal of his own creation after blocking a Paul Martin shot from the point and getting a fortuitous bounce off the boards. The goal gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission and seemed to take a little wind out of the Sharks’ sails.
Despite putting forth a handful of great chances in the third the Sharks just couldn’t beat Bernier. The Sharks played well enough to win but the Ducks’ stifling defense and their desparation to grab points in a head-to-head with the Sharks won out. This game was hard fought and had classic Sharks vs. Ducks rivalry all over it.
Fear the Fin’s Three Stars
- Jonathan Bernier
- Jakob Silfverburg
- Martin Jones