Ducks Take Sharks to the Brink, Lose 3-2 in Shootout

That F'ing Close! - Thearon W. Henderson

"Missed it by THAT much." - Maxwell Smart (probably Teemu Selanne also)

Final Score: Ducks 2, San Jose 3 (Shootout)

First Period Recap: Emerson Etem almost scored on his first shift in the NHL, he had Anti Niemi flailing around in the crease, but couldn't get the puck off the side of the net to jam it home from behind the goal. The fourth line of Etem, Rikard Rakell and Kyle Palmieri had a good first period but faded into the background as the game wore on.

The Ducks wildly out shot the Sharks in the first period (13-4) but San Jose ended the first twenty minutes on top after a goal by their big line, Joe Pavelski from Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

Second Period Recap: The Sharks came out on fire to start the second, but their momentum was halted by a too many men on the ice penalty in the second minute. The Ducks power play didn't get much going, but controlled the puck enough to slow down the surging Sharks. Marleau took a tripping penalty a few minutes later and five seconds after the expiration of that penalty Francois Beauchemin put the Ducks on the board from about a foot in front of the goal line. Very soft goal for Niemi to give up.

Fifty-nine seconds later Matt Beleskey gave the Ducks the lead. Daniel Winnik won a puck battle below the goal line to Ryan Getzlaf who found Beleskey wide open in the middle of the ice for a shot over the glove of Niemi who was slightly screened by a puck chasing Matt Irwin (who?).

Third Period Recap: The third was probably the best period of the season for the maligned second line of Teemu Selanne, Nick Bonino and Bobby Ryan. Teemu and Bobby each had quality chances to extend the lead but were unsuccessful.

The Ducks were undone by luck to some extent tonight as Logan Couture tied the game at two with only 2:45 remaining in regulation. The shot was stoppable, although Jonas Hiller was somewhat screened, it squeezed between his arm and body and trickled over the goal line. The play was unlucky though, because the breakout was started by a Corey Perry pass that went off the skate of the referee right to Couture.

Overtime Recap: Like Saturday night's overtime against Nashville there were plenty of chances and nail biting moments. The Sharks' best opportunity came early in the session when, for some reason, Bryan Allen pinched down the wall instead of Cam Fowler and Ryane Clowe went on a two on one with Thornton. The Ducks best chance came with about two minuets left as Perry had an open side of the net to shoot at and hit the top of Niemi's pad as he came across.

The only goal in the shootout was scored by Michal Handzus, the Sharks opening shooter, who put an absolutely perfect shot off the crossbar and in. Ryan, Pavelski, Perry (exact same move that worked Saturday vs Nashville) and Clowe were all stopped before Teemu rung the crossbar and the puck almost rebounded in off of Niemi's back to give the Sharks the extra point by a hair.

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The Good: Unbelievably the Ducks did not give up a power play goal to San Jose. Going into the game the Sharks had the best PP in the league at 37.5 percent and the Ducks were last on the kill with an abysmal 63.2 percent success rate. Anaheim was both disciplined, only giving San Jose two opportunities, and clinical on the kill. Also without the advantage of last change they did a great job as a team, to shut down the red hot first line of the Sharks.

The Bad: Todd McLellan's favorite cop out: "Puck Luck." Despite getting an undeniably lucky goal from Beauch, the Ducks could have held on, were it not for a few bounces that went the other way.

The Ugly: Not much, honestly. This was a really solid game all around for the Ducks. There was a ridiculous roughing call against Winnik, but those things happen and they pretty much evened out in this game.

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Most Valuable Duck: (Breaking the rules slightly, there weren't any Iceholes for the Ducks even in this loss)
1st MVD - Francois Beauchemin - Picking any individuals out of this game is pretty difficult, the Ducks put forth a great team effort. But with a goal (lucky as mentioned above), five blocked shots, a huge hit on Tommy Wingels and a team high 1:59 worth of ice time on the PK, Beach was most emblematic of the strong defensive game the Ducks had as a whole.

2nd MVD - Dan Winnik - He may not have scored any goals, he did assist on the Beleskey's, but his offensive prowess wasn't really the reason he was brought in. He did exactly what should be expected of him. This was a grinding type of game and he won a number of puck battles for the Ducks. He also hit a crossbar about eight seconds after the Sharks did in the third period.

3rd MVD - Cam Fowler - This may be somewhat of a body of work award for his improved defensive play so far in the young season, but Fowler lead the team in time on ice with 22:39 was never a liability and had at least two of his patented rushes through neutral ice.

Next Game: vs. Minnesota Friday, Feb. 1, 7:00 PM at The Pond

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