HONDA CENTER — Starving for a victory, the San Jose Sharks put up better than the ‘C’ or ‘D’ game they played two nights prior in Los Angeles but ended up getting shot down by the Pacific division-leading Anaheim Ducks 5-3 on Monday all because of a slip-up midway through the game.
Defenseman Jason Demers’ one-timer from the right point with 58 seconds remaining in the first period tied the game at 1-1. It was in the middle of the second period that the Sharks let themselves slip, allowing the Ducks to net two goals in 34 seconds and three within 2:46.
Said center Logan Couture of Anaheim’s goals at 11:09, 11:43 and 13:55 that put his team down 4-1:
“It was seven minutes maybe, seven really, really bad minutes and we shot ourselves on the foot once again. So frustrating to give up those goals and those chances. I mean, obviously we responded well in the third and pretty much dominated the third period but it’s seven minutes you can’t have and you’re not going to win like that. So it’s tough.”
The goal that started the onslaught was a beautiful display of passing resulting in a tic-tac-toe goal by Peter Holland.
Again, the Sharks would go on the attack late in the second period, with center Patrick Marleau netting one from the right circle at 19:31 assisted by Martin Havlat and Douglas Murray. At 4-2, there was hope.
It became very much a game 6:48 in the third period, when defenseman Matt Irwin fired a shot from the left circle off a pass from Brent Burns and made it a one goal game at 4-3. Irwin told SFBay:
“We played hard in third period and gave ourselves the chance to climb back into it.”
In an ideal world, the Sharks would score the last-minute goal to tie the game but instead, it was Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin who would capitalize on San Jose’s turnover and go in for the kill on the easy empty netter with :46 left in regulation.
San Jose coach Todd McLellan wasn’t as upset after this loss as he was against the defending Stanley Cup champions on Saturday, saying that the effort was better but the results were the same: disappointing. McLellan said:
“Tomorrow when we wake up, it’s going to be a loss and we’re going to be two points behind everybody else. We took a big checking game, a tight game, and turned it into a track meet and that certainly doesn’t favor us.”
The Ducks’ twelfth straight win at home is a new franchise record, and they’ve won both encounters against the Sharks at the Honda Center. San Jose captured a win at home in late January back when the team was 6-0.
There are two more games left in the season series. The Sharks finale of the five game roadie is back here in Anaheim next Monday.
McLellan again referenced the track meet-style play in looking ahead:
“The plan will be not to open the game and play that fast 200-foot game that favors them and doesn’t favor us.”
Sharks center Joe Thornton attributed this loss to his team’s mistakes, explaining:
“We got away from the game. Our game is grind them out, use our big bodies. We totally got away from it for some reason in the second for five, six minutes and they made us pay.”
But Marleau had a brighter take on the performance of his team:
“I think we’re going to try and focus on the positives. I think guys are seeing what it’s going to take to win games and we have to do it more consistently throughout the game.”
Adding insult to injury for the Sharks, San Jose gave up the first career NHL goal to Anaheim’s Emerson Etem who also had an assist. Corey Perry also hit the jackpot by inking an eight-year, $69 million contract extension to remain with the Ducks.
Rookie Viktor Fasth who has supplanted Jonas Hiller as the number one goalie, stopped 32 of 35 shots for the Ducks.
Sharks forward Ryane Clowe did not play. Clowe was injured in the prior game at Los Angeles and sat out with a bum shoulder. He has just nine assists and zero goals in 25 games. … Dan Boyle, Brent Burns, Andrew Desjardins, and Matt Irwin were each a minus-2 on the scoresheet.