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Sharks drop fifth straight in OT loss to Ducks

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If there was anything that could fix the Sharks’ recent woes, it would be back-to-back games against the two worst teams in the Western Conference.

But one night after falling to the Kings, the Sharks (43-23-9) again fell flat to an inferior opponent, losing 4-3 to the Ducks (31-36-8) in Anaheim Friday for their fifth straight defeat to extend their longest skid of the season.

With the Calgary Flames idle, the Sharks gained a point on the Pacific Division leaders, and are four points back of the Pacific Division lead with seven games left.

Jakob Silfverberg scored the game-winning goal in overtime on a wrist shot, entering the zone on a rush.

A night after Martin Jones was not sharp against the Kings, backup goaltender Aaron Dell allowed four goals on 21 shots Friday. And head Peter DeBoer expressed frustration with his netminders:

“You can’t lay it at one guy’s feet, but you can’t win in this league with .800-.900 save percentage. You can’t. You’ve got to find a way to get an extra save.”

Dell’s save percentage is at .890, while Jones’ is at .898. If the Sharks are to make a deep playoff run, they will need better performances in goal. For all their offensive prowess — Justin Braun’s goal in the third period marked the team’s 266th goal of the season, a franchise record — most Stanley Cup contenders have a reliable backstop.

DeBoer said:

“We didn’t give them very much. It seemed like every chance they had got was stuck in the net, though.”

Dell credited the Ducks for putting pucks on net and shooting through traffic, but thought he played a solid game:

“I felt pretty good. The stats didn’t really show it, but I thought they had a lot of chances and I felt pretty good about my game.”

The third period began with the score even a goal apiece, but the teams combined for four goals in the frame to head into overtime tied 3-3.

Braun tied the game minutes after Rickard Rakell gave the Ducks the lead, punching home a rebound off a shot from the point by Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Rakell put the Ducks ahead 3-2 with just under five minutes to play in the period on the power play, with a solid wrister that went straight in as goaltender Aaron Dell was screened in front. It was Rakell’s second goal of the game.

The Sharks had evened the score earlier in the period on a power play goal by Timo Meier, who cleaned up the rebound after a hard slap shot by Joe Thornton.

The Ducks took a 2-1 on just their 13th shot of the game when Troy Terry drew two defenders deep into the zone and dished to Adam Henrique, who beat Dell through the five-hole.

San Jose again looked far from crisp. A Brent Burns giveaway led to the Ducks’ first goal, and the Sharks came away empty handed on their first three power plays.

DeBoer thought the Sharks, who again were without Joe Pavelski and Erik Karlsson, gave a tad better effort than Thursday night in Los Angeles, when they “took the first 10 minutes off”:

“The guys that dressed tonight gave us everything they had. Showed up, played hard, played well defensively, created enough opportunities to win the game.”

Like in Thursday’s loss to the Kings, the Sharks fell behind early. But they controlled the second period, equalizing on a wrister by Kevin Labanc to the top corner. It was Labanc’s 14th goal of the season, which came off a nice, short pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic along the side boards.

The Ducks struck first midway through the first period, taking advantage of a neutral-zone giveaway by Burns. Jakob Silfverberg then found Rakell, who snapped a wrist shot high above Dell.

The Sharks are assuredly glad that they are losing games now instead of in the postseason, but it’s never a positive sign to head into the playoffs on a losing skid. Meier said the Sharks need to take on the adversity:

“We’ve got to find ways to win games now. It’s an important time of the year. The playoffs are real close. Face a little adversity now, but we’re going to learn out of this. Next game is a new game. We need to come out harder.”

Notes

Couture returned to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game with flu-like symptoms. … Michael Haley was scratched after playing in the last 14 games. … The Sharks and Ducks end the season series against the Ducks with both teams winning two games apiece. … Burns recorded his 77th point of the season on Meier’s goal, setting a single season record for points by a defenseman in franchise history.

Up Next

The Sharks return home for a four-game homestand, starting with a game against the Red Wings on Monday.

Notes

Couture returned to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game with flu-like symptoms. … Michael Haley was scratched after playing in the last 14 games. … The Sharks and Ducks end the season series against the Ducks with both teams winning two games apiece. … Burns recorded his 77th point of the season on Meier’s goal, setting a single season record for points by a defenseman in franchise history.  

Up Next

The Sharks return home for a four-game homestand, starting with a game against the Red Wings on Monday.

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