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Sharks 2, Ducks 1: Series sweep sends Ducks to golf course

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Hockey is basically golf anyway, right?

SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 18: Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Tonight on the Golf Channel, the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks convened at the SAP Center to finish off their playoff series. The Sharks even brought along San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan as their celebrity door opener for their second home game this round. That Bay Area unification must’ve had some strong energy to quell their southern California rival.

The Sharks started the game off strong and dominated in the offensive zone through the early stages of the first period. Indeed, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture both got good looks at John Gibson in the first five minutes of the game. The first goal of the night came from Marcus Sorensen, who scored just six minutes into the game (his third of the series), assisted by Brent Burns and Melker Karlsson.

Fifteen minutes into the first, Joonas Donskoi was tripped by Hampus Lindholm and the Sharks went on their first power play of the night. They did not score. This would become a theme, as both teams found themselves unable to convert on the power play tonight.

Shots were relatively even through the first 20 minutes, with the Ducks firing off 10 shots and the Sharks shooting 10 in the direction of the net. The Sharks headed back to the locker room up 1-0.

The Sharks forwards went into the second period looking a little lethargic.

Just over seven minutes into the second period, Joe Pavelski emulated the Ducks’ leadership group and was called for a tripping minor against Marcus Pettersson. The Ducks failed to score on this power play.

Around a minute after the Ducks’ power play expired, Nick Ritchie was called for slashing on Kevin Labanc. While Burns had a couple of shot attempts on this man advantage, the Sharks ultimately not convert.

Jones made an impressive set of saves against Francois Beauchemin and Corey Perry just after the Sharks power play expired. Almost immediately after, Rikard Rakell and Timo Meier collided, and Timo was called for high-sticking. The Sharks mustered some good defensive play over the ensuing penalty kill, countering some of the Ducks physicality with, well, this:

With a minute left in the period, Eric Fehr was called for hooking against Josh Manson. The Sharks again went on the penalty kill for the remainder of the middle third, and the first minute of the final frame.

The Ducks had actually out-shot the Sharks this period. Through the middle third of the game, the Ducks fired off 14 shots, while the Sharks fired a scant 6.

The early part of this period was surprisingly dramatic. The Sharks started on the penalty kill off of Eric Fehr’s hooking penalty at the close of the second period. Thirty seconds into the third, Rickard Rakell appeared to score on the power play.

Pete DeBoer promptly challenged the goal for the play being offside. Upon a swift video review, Ryan Kesler was found to be offside, and the Ducks goal was overturned. The Sharks returned to the penalty kill for the remaining 30 seconds.

Almost immediately after the Ducks’ power play expired, Brandon Montour was called for high sticking Evander Kane. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Sharks failed to score on their ensuing power play opportunity.

Rinse, repeat. Literally. Thirty seconds after the Sharks power play expired, they found themselves on the penalty kill for the fourth time that evening off a high sticking call on Melker Karlsson. The Sharks successfully killed off the penalty.

Eight minutes into the third, Andrew Cogliano scored a goal and his first and only point of the 2018 postseason, assisted by Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg.

Tomas Hertl promptly put the Sharks back on top, scoring off a feed from Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

John Gibson was pulled with two minutes remaining in the game and in the Ducks postseason campaign. The Sharks did not score on the empty net, but did have a couple shots go wide.

The Ducks only managed seven shots over the final period, while the Sharks fired off nine, with both teams finding the back of the net once. The Sharks ended the game and the series with the second sweep in franchise history.

Numbers

Let’s take a quick look at some data visualization illustrating both teams’ shots tonight, shall we?

The Sharks visibly dominated with shot attempts through the first 20 minutes of play. The little Chewbacca face six minutes in is the Sorensen goal (marked as such because of a Brent Burns assist). Score-adjusted corsi remains relatively equal over the last forty minutes of the game, with the Ducks putting a few shots on net towards the end of the second and third periods.

Here’s an even strength heat map showing shot attempts throughout the night. While both Sharks goals came from right within the point, the majority of shots actually originated from within the left faceoff circle, or just behind the right faceoff circle. The Ducks drove straight to the point tonight, and only successfully converted one shot.

Notes

  • The San Jose Sharks are the first NHL team to win a playoff series while being broadcast on the Golf Channel. Incidentally, this victory will be sending the Ducks to the golf course. Yes, this entire story was set-up for that bit.
  • Francois Beauchemin is evidently still an active NHL player. This note may no longer be accurate by press time.
  • Corey Perry was been held pointless this series.
  • Neither team was able to score on the power play tonight. The Sharks had a power play goal in every game up until this point, including four on Monday night.
  • No Ducks captain took a penalty tonight. Two games in this series had all three captains in the box.
  • The Sharks will be taking on the Pacific Division Champion Vegas Golden Knights for round two. The Knight completed a sweep of the Kings on Tuesday.