Both teams were coming off 2-1 wins; the Sharks edged the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins while the Ducks defeated their southern California archrival Los Angeles Kings. This game was San Jose’s sixth game in nine nights, having won four of their last five outings.
The two previous meetings between these Pacific division foes have ended in shootouts, with the first going to the Sharks and the Ducks taking the second.
But thankfully, Sunday night’s game didn’t follow that trend.
The good guys struck first, with Marc-Edouard Vlasic scoring off a Tomas Hertl backhand pass, through the legs of an Anaheim defender, with six m left in the first period.
The second period would be much more eventful as Kevin Labanc banked in a near-breakaway goal, off of a lead pass from Timo Meier early in the period. Mikkel Boedker then scored his 100th career goal on a power play with 6:04 left in the second, extending the lead to 3-0. This goal wouldn’t be the last we’d hear from him.
Despite having control of the game, two untimely penalties by Joel Ward (tripping) and Joe Pavelski (slashing) allowed the Ducks a chance to score a late second period 5-on-3 power play goal. Rickard Rakell scored the goal with 26.1 seconds left, giving them much-needed life.
Anaheim started the third period fast putting up another goal within the first two minutes. Ryan Getzlaf scored the goal off a behind the net pass from Ondrej Kase, cutting the lead to one.
The rest of the third period was all Sharks, who scored three unanswered goals to close out the game.
San Jose responded one-minute after Getzlaf’s goal with their second power play goal of game. Just under three minutes into the period, Joe Thornton scored off a slapshot, netting his fifth goal in the last six games.
With the assist on Labanc’s goal and this power play goal of his own, Joe Thornton is now number 16 for all-time points in the NHL with 1,426.
Once again, Boedker extended the Sharks’ lead to three, scoring his second goal of the game on a 3-on-1 even-strength breakaway with ten minutes left in the final period. Melker Karlsson also got in on the action, scoring his seventh goal of the season on a slapshot with five minutes left, putting a bow on this gift of an offensive explosion.
Aaron Dell was special in net while playing in his first back-to-back games this season, as starting goalie Martin Jones was listed out with an injury. Dell notched 33 saves on 35 attempts and stopped two Anaheim breakaways, including denying a late second period attempt by the speedy Andrew Cogliano. He earned his 10th win in his last 11 starts.
San Jose will get one day off before heading home to the SAP Center on Tuesday to face the Central division leading Winnipeg Jets. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. Pacific.