After taking two games at the Honda Center, the Sharks returned to SAP Center Monday to dismantle the Anaheim Ducks 8-1 and snatch a commanding 3-0 series lead in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A four-goal second period and a three-goal third followed San Jose setting the tone early in the first period, keeping the puck in the Ducks’ zone. A shot on goal just one minute in after Joonas Donskoi found a wide-open Paul Martin who sent a hard wrister that John Gibson stopped.
On top of the offensive explosion, Martin Jones was spectacular in net. Giving up just one goal, Jones made a season-high 46 saves.
Jones said about his team’s performance:
“You don’t win in the playoffs without everyone on board and everybody filling a certain role. So yeah, it was a great way to win tonight and we had everyone going.”
Two minutes into the first period, Logan Couture opened the scoring for the Sharks when Mikkel Boedker beat Hampus Lindholm around the right face-off circle, backhanding a pass to Logan Couture in the slot who lifted a shot past Gibson’s glove side.
Couture on the second period outburst:
“The first period was okay. (Anaheim) brought some energy, and then in the second (period) we seemed to capitalize on every opportunity we had. … We capitalized on a few two-on-ones, and then it kind of got out of hand there down the stretch.”
Just minutes after Couture’s goal, Chris Tierney had the chance to give the Sharks a two-goal lead on a breakaway but he would be stoned by Gibson. San Jose was given another chance to increase its lead halfway through the opening period after Ryan Getzlaf was called for holding. But as Getzlaf’s penalty expired, Timo Meier would be called for hooking in the Ducks’ zone.
Meier’s penalty would prove costly, as Rickard Rakell evened the score 1-1 with eight-and-a-half minutes left in the first period. Brandon Montour found Rakell at the left face-off circle who sent a one-timer over Jones’ left shoulder that rang off the inside of the post before finding the back of the net.
Anaheim built off of Rakell’s goal, and controlled the game for the remainder of the first period. But the Sharks returned to the ice in the second period determined to continue dominating the series.
Just over one minute into the second period Joonas Donskoi initiated what would become a second-period goal barrage. After intercepting the puck in the neutral zone and facing a two-on-one, Donskoi sent a pass to Evander Kane at the opposite end of the slot who returned the puck to a sliding Donskoi who was able to slap the puck into the net after Gibson was thrown out of position.
Only one minute later, a similar play unfolded as Donskoi and Marcus Sörensen faced a two-on-one. Donskoi found Sörensen at the other end of the slot, who went backhand and slid the puck past Gibson’s left pad. Sörensen’s goal was his second of the series.
After Donskoi and Sörensen’s goals, the Ducks had the chance to trim the Sharks’ lead when Rakell found himself alone in the slot, but Jones rejected him from tallying his second goal on the night.
The Sharks’ four-goal second period would be topped with goals from Eric Fehr and Tomas Hertl. Hertl’s second of the series came on a Francois Beauchemin slashing penalty on what was possibly the best executed play of the game. Brent Burns found Couture at the other end of the point who sent it to Joe Pavelski at the bottom of the left face-off circle. Pavelski then quickly hit Hertl in the slot who beat Gibson five-hole with a one-timer.
After surrendering five goals on 24 shots, Gibson would be replace by backup Ryan Miller. The Ducks had two more chances with the man-advantage in the third period but were unable to capitalize. It was the Sharks who capitalized off a Getzlaf double minor, after Meier’s shot was blocked by a defender in the slot, Pavelski then beat Miller five-hole.
Evander Kane notched his third goal of the series with three minutes left in the final period.
Pete DeBoer said about his whole team contributing:
“When you come into these games and any kind of playoff run, different guys have to step up in different moments. Tonight, obviously, it wasn’t on defense, but we found a way to capitalize on the opportunities we got.”
The series remains in San Jose for Game 4 as the Sharks look to close out the best-of-seven series Wednesday at SAP Center.