The Sharks came back twice in the final period to force overtime, but fell just over half a minute into bonus hockey.
Penalties were the deciding factor in this one. The Sharks drew five power play opportunities and only scored on one. Their power play definitely got stronger over the course of the game. That’s something good.
Now for something bad. The Ducks had three power play opportunities and scored twice, both in the third period.
Overall, that’s a bad special teams performance for the Sharks.
We can’t know how this game would have turned out if not for those power-play goals. But those goals put the Sharks in a chasing position twice in the final 20 minutes, which is not good preparation for the playoffs.
The second period was the bright spot of the game for the Sharks. They got a goal from a bottom-six player and allowed the Ducks only four shots in the period.
I wrote after the second period that if the Sharks could limit the Ducks’ shots in the final 20 minutes, they’d have a chance to win. The Sharks didn’t exactly do that (Anaheim took nine shots in the final 20+), but I had also failed to take into account Aaron Dell’s sub-.900 save percentage.
Let’s talk milestones to end this on a positive note.
Justin Braun played in his 600th career NHL game, and scored the Sharks’ last goal to get them into overtime. It was his first goal in over 40 games.
Gustav Nyquist assisted on Braun’s goal, his 55th point of the season which is a career high for him.
Brent Burns also had an assist, on Timo Meier’s power-play goal, to reach 77 points, a career high.
Meier’s goal was his 28th of the season, extending his career-high. Meier is easily within reach of scoring 30 goals in only his third NHL season.
The Sharks have the weekend off before playing the Detroit Red Wings at home Monday. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. PT and is the NHL TV Free Game of the Week. The game will also be broadcast in Spanish thanks to the Sharks’ partnership with Tico Sports.
Logan Couture will play tonight. Michael Haley will not. We haven’t dropped the puck yet and the game is already off to a good start.
18:37: Joakim Ryan gets so preoccupied with pressing the puck he over-commits to Jakob Silfverberg behind the net, leaving the trailer open. Very lucky for the Sharks that Dell was in position.
13:51: Timo Meier and Logan Couture swing into the zone unopposed by Couture’s shot hits the post.
12:02: The Sharks turn the puck over in the middle of the ice and the Ducks rush back into their attacking zone with numbers. Rickard Rackell receives the pass and shoots over Aaron Dell’s shoulder.
10:20: We return from commercial to find that the Sharks are on a power play.
10:16: The Sharks go offside in the first moments of the power play.
8:20: The Sharks spent more time outside the attacking zone than in it on that power play.
6:03: Gustav Nyquist nearly tips the puck into the net. Timo Meier made that play possible by keeping the puck in at the blueline and throwing it to Logan Couture on the right side.
4:14: The Sharks will be on the power play after this commercial break. Sounds familiar. Almost like stoppages around each quarter-mark of the period will go to commercial.
3:43: The first 30 seconds of the power play were eventful! Aaron Dell came out of the net to play the cleared puck, where he was toppled by a forechecking Duck. Luckily he was the only Anaheim in the zone...but he still picked the puck away from the Sharks a few moments later.
0:20.1: Brent Burns goes to the box. He yanked Jakob Silfverberg down right in front of the net. And also in front of the referee.
END FIRST: Sharks 0, Ducks 1
The power plays have been bad for the Sharks so far. Both dudes on the top pairing have made big errors by the net—Joakim Ryan to start the period, and Brent Burns to end it. The Ducks have over a minute and a half of power play time to potentially make Burns’ error count on the scoreboard.
Timo Meier has looked really good, and Logan Couture is playing rather well for just having had the flu.
18:37: Barclay Goodrow and Melker Karlsson have a great shorthanded opportunity, but don’t score.
17:31: Kevin Labanc ties the game for the Sharks.
7:26: The Sharks will have a third power play chance. Is one good power play too much to ask for?
5:25: One good power play was too much to ask for. That was the worst one yet.
END SECOND: Sharks 1, Anaheim 1
Well that was most exciting in the final minute of the period. We got some track meet hockey there as both teams attempted to get a momentum-generating goal.
The Sharks held the Ducks to only four shots that period, and 12 so far in the game. If they can keep the Ducks’ chances low, that will push the chances to win in their favor. On the offensive side, Timo Meier and Logan Couture have been super close a couple times. All it might take is one more good chance for them to give the Sharks the lead.
18:55: Joakim Ryan takes a holding penalty early in the period.
17:19: Troy Terry flips the puck up toward the corner to enter the zone. It gets to Adam Henrique driving the center of the slot, and he scores. 2-1 Ducks but with plenty of time.
15:24: Joakim Ryan was slashed, drawing a penalty against the Ducks. Now is the time...
13:31: It sure is the time. Timo Time, in fact! Joe Thornton takes a shot on the power play and Timo Meier pushes it home from the crease. Brent Burns gets the second assist for his career-high 77th point of the year.
11:41: The Sharks will have a power play after these messages.
7:16: Tomas Hertl creates one of the best scoring chances of the game with a poke check in the defensive zone. The puck gets to Evander Kane, who rushes it up the right wing before losing it at the offensive blue line; Hertl skates in from behind and drives the net, ultimately shooting the puck off the side of the net.
5:46: Melker Karlsson to the box for holding.
4:55: Rickard Rackell scores his second goal of the game. The Ducks are now two-of-three on the power play.
2:40: Justin Braun ties the game at 3, picking up a rebound from the boards! Good way to celebrate a 600th career game.
END THIRD: Sharks 3, Ducks 3
The Sharks come back twice to force overtime. I’m not sure who will have the edge in three-on-three; both team has shown possession but also mistakes.
Brent Burns, Tomas Hertl, and Evander Kane start OT for the Sharks.
4:22: Jakob Silfverberg ends it.
FINAL SCORE: Sharks 3, Ducks 4
The San Jose Sharks have clinched a spot in the playoffs, through no work of their own, and are struggling to play like a playoff team. They’re currently in a four-game losing streak, which started last week against the Florida Panthers. The Sharks lost last night to Los Angeles, the second-worst team in the NHL. That’s not a performance befitting a team that will officially contend for the Stanley Cup.
The Anaheim Ducks have won two of their last three games, and have been successful against two teams the Sharks lost to in the last week. However, their last game was a shutout loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
Earlier today, Ducks Vice President/General Manager and Interim Head Coach Bob Murray gave an update on the health of both Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves. Both are expected to be done for the season.
The Sharks and Ducks last met ... in December? That’s a long time to go without seeing a division rival. The Sharks won 4-2 with goals from Melker Karlsson, Marcus Sorensen, Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl (empty-netter).
The Sharks have not won in Anaheim in their last four visits.
These lines are different from the ones the Sharks tweeted out, and are almost certainly going to be different from the ones that actually take the ice. Joe Pavelski is still sidelined, Logan Couture sat last night, the Sharks recalled Dylan Gambrell and Nick DeSimone (while sending down Jacob Middleton in a corresponding move) and Erik Karlsson is on the trip.
Expected Scratches: Joe Pavelski (lower body), Logan Couture? (ill), Erik Karlsson (groin), Radim Simek (knee), Lukas Radil, Dylan Gambrell, Nick DeSimone
Ducks (via nhl.com):
Nick Ritchie — Ryan Getzlaf — Daniel Sprong
Rickard Rakell — Devin Shore — Jakob Silfverberg
Corey Perry — Adam Henrique — Troy Terry
Max Jones — Derek Grant — Carter Rowney
Hampus Lindholm — Josh Manson
Cam Fowler — Andy Welinski
Jaycob Megna — Korbinian Holzer
Expected Scratches: Chad Johnson (upper body), Brendan Guhle (upper body), Jacob Larsson (thigh)
Where to Watch
When the game starts in Orange County, you can watch on NBCS California in the Bay Area, FS-W in Anaheim, SportsNet in Canada or on NHL Network. Radio fans can listen to 98.5 KFOX with the Sharks App.