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Sharks 3, Ducks 2: Sharks head home up 2-0

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Ducks continue their parade to the penalty box.

Apr 14, 2018; Anaheim, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Melker Karlsson  (68) and center Chris Tierney (50) celebrate after game two of the first  round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks at  Honda Center. The Sharks defeated the Du Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Sharks are heading back to San Jose up 2-0 in their best of seven series with the Anaheim Ducks. Game 2 was much tighter than Game 1, finishing up with a 3-2 score.

Honda Center was absolutely jumping to start Game 2. The crowd was amped up and the Ducks took that energy and ran with it. From puck drop, Anaheim pushed into the Sharks’ zone, and put the pressure on and it paid off. Just 40 seconds in, Jakob Silfverberg scored on what looked like something Martin Jones could have stopped. Ducks up 1-0.

The ensuing play saw the Ducks push back into the Sharks’ zone and it looked like it would be a long night. But San Jose responded, slowly tilting the ice in its favor. That’s when the hitting started. Both sides laid big hits. The biggest, what some would call a dirty hit, was on Kevin Labanc, who was hit on the numbers and fell face first on the ice. No call. There was also a little back and forth between Evander Kane and Silfverberg, both were told to sit down and take a little time to cool off.

The 4-on-4 play seemed to help the Sharks keep the momentum. A few minutes later, Marcus Sorensen got the Sharks on the board. Brenden Dillon’s shot from the point went wide, but ricocheted right to Sorensen at the side of the net. A quick tap past John Gibson and it was all tied up at one goal.

The hits continued until the refs finally had enough and called Brandon Montour for holding. Considering everything that happened up until that point, Ducks fans probably weren’t pleased with that call.

It paid off for the Sharks, however. Brent Burns made a great play to hold the puck at the center dot. He backhanded it to Joe Pavelski, who tossed it cross ice to Labanc. Labanc took the puck into the zone and then feathered a pass to Logan Couture. Couture pulled the puck to his backhand, skated past a sprawling Gibson and scored. 2-1 Sharks.

Jones steadied himself after the first goal, making an impressive save on Adam Henrique in the waning minutes of the first period. The Ducks started to buzz in the final minute, putting some good chances on net, but Jones was up to the task.

The first period ended with the Sharks maintaining their one goal lead.

At the start of the second, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle switched up the lines to try and get his team going. It didn’t help. Just over a minute into the game and Tomas Hertl put the Sharks up 3-1. Hertl took a touch pass from Mikkel Boedker at the middle of the ice and skated into the Ducks’ zone. Number 48 dangled around defenseman Montour and then lifted the puck past Gibson.

The Sharks continued to pressure in the Ducks’ zone, getting a number of shots on net. Gibson was up to the task, stopping all of them. That’s when Paul Martin took an unnecessary penalty in the offensive zone. The refs called him for slashing and the Ducks received their first man advantage of the game.

The Sharks had a few short-handed chances during the Ducks’ power play, but could not score. Hampus Lindholm did not make the same mistake for the Ducks. He was standing right in front of the net when Ryan Getzlaf found him. Lindholm one-timed the puck past Jones and it was 3-2 Sharks.

With the Ducks within one goal, the fans at Honda Center found new life. Just like the start of the game, the Ducks used it to gain momentum. Corey Perry was just a post away from tying the game. Through the rest of the period, the teams traded chances and hits, but things ended with the Sharks up 3-2.

The third period started out with no scoring, but some amazing netminding. Gibson and Jones traded highlight reel saves. Gibson made a crazy blocker save on Chris Tierney.

Then Jones stepped up during an Anaheim power play, shutting the door on a number of scoring chances to keep the score 3-2 Sharks.

With just under four minutes left in the game, Corey Perry made a play that should make even Ducks fans cringe. With the Ducks in the Sharks’ zone, Perry came in hard on Melker Karlsson (who didn’t have the puck) and popped his lid off.

Perry received two-minutes for interference. The Sharks could not make the Ducks pay on the ensuing power play, but it did waste some valuable time.

With 92 seconds left the Ducks pulled Gibson. With bodies flying in front of Jones, the Sharks managed to keep the puck out of the net.

Final score 3-2.

Numbers

Corsi for Sharks vs. Ducks on April 14, 2018
hockeystats.ca

Looking at the numbers, you can see the possession was just like the score. The Sharks just barely better than the Ducks. 53% to 47%.

Offensive zone unblocked shots for Sharks vs. Ducks on April 14, 2018
naturalstattrick.com

When you look at the unblocked shots on goal, you can see a lot of the shots for the Sharks are coming from right up the middle, point blank on Gibson. For the Ducks, they’re getting a lot of shots in close, practically in the crease. Other than that, they’re all over the map.

Notes

  • Lots of bumps and bruises tonight. Evander Kane got a bloody lip in the first. Somewhere along the line, Tomas Hertl got cut on his chin. Timo Meier was knocked down and bloodied in the third. And then, there was that hit on Melker Karlsson. The Ducks got banged up too, Ryan Getzlaf took a puck to the face in the second.
  • Meier looked really good tonight. He had a number of scoring chances. That third line is making matchups tough for the Ducks.
  • John Gibson was impressive in goal tonight. I don’t think I truly conveyed just how good he was in the recap.
  • Congrats to the San Jose Barracuda, who will play for the Calder Cup this season. The Barracuda went on a six-game win streak to end the season, and with a little help from some of the other teams (specifically, their soon-to-be first round opponent, the Tuscon Roadrunners) qualified for the playoffs tonight.