Final Score: Ducks 5, Sharks 3
First Period Recap: Fasth makes his first big stop shortly after the game starts, on Scott Gomez. Shortly after, Sheldon Souray and Andrew Desjardins drop the gloves. It was the product of some pushing and shoving around the Ducks' net. Souray wins, so it's all right. Luca Sbisa launches a slap-shot that bounces off Antti Niemi. David Steckel appears to collect the rebound, but it's no good.
With about five minutes left in the period, Francois Beauchemin scores. He collects a loose puck from the blue line, and it seems as though he's going to give it to Kyle Palmieri when Marc-Edouard Vlasic comes toward him. Beauch decides to release a howitzer instead, and it goes behind Niemi, top shelf. Beauchemin's goal is shortly negated by one from Jason Demers, whose slap shot goes over Fasth's left shoulder. Disappointing, but the Ducks also announced around this time that Corey Perry was signed to an eight-year contract extension.
Second Period Recap: Andrew Cogliano does a little spin move to put the puck on net, but no one's there. A little later, Toni Lydman hits Adam Burish behind the net to jar the puck loose. Teemu Selanne gets the puck past the blue line, and flies down the right wing, but his shot sails over the crossbar. Michal Handzus is called for tripping, and the Ducks have the first power play of the game. Unfortunately, the Sharks kill the penalty. Cam Fowler feeds the puck to Palmieri, but Niemi says no. Cogliano feeds the puck to Peter Holland, who flips it top shelf past Niemi. It's Holland's second goal of the year.
Moments later, Daniel Winnik passes the puck to Emerson Etem from the left wing. Etem gets it under the crossbar. It's his first NHL goal! Squee! Matt Beleskey is called for tripping, but that doesn't matter. Etem gets a puck off the wall, and sprints down the left wing to feed it to Ryan Getzlaf. Unfortunately, this period concludes with another late Sharks goal, courtesy of Patrick Marleau. To put the icing on the cake, Saku Koivu is called for interference at the verrrrry end of the period.
Third Period Recap:The period began with the Ducks killing Koivu's penalty. Never a good way to start a period. After the penalty is killed, Logan Couture makes a zig-zaggy play toward the center of the ice, but Fasth was prepared for him. Winnik and Etem almost combine for the goal that would send this game into rout territory, but it was not meant to be. Matt Irwin turns one of Fasth's rebounds into a goal - the puck hit the inside of Getzlaf's skate before passing into Fasth's crease. We are slowly letting the Sharks back into the game, and it's scary. Cogliano flies down the right wing, and hammers the puck at Niemi, but the Sharks' goalie is ready.
On the other end of the ice, Fasth makes a series of huge stops as the period winds to a close. Cogliano feeds an open Bobby Ryan, but the puck eludes Ryan's stick.
The Sharks pull Niemi with about a minute and a half left but Getzlaf and Beauchemin go on a 2-on-1. Getzy passes to Beauch at the blueline and he ices the Ducks' 12th straight home victory. A franchise record!
The Good: The Ducklings. Both Emerson Etem and Peter Holland had great games tonight. It was especially cool that Etem got to score his first NHL goal in what is basically his hometown. And guess who didn't score, Robby?
The Bad: Viktor Fasth's rebounds, and the whole lead protection thing. Also - who's going to pay Bobby?
The Ugly: The refs who ignored Thornton's elbow to the head of Palmieri [Ed. Note: See video below and begin complaining about Brendan Shanahan's bias. Or just watch the video and skip the last part -CK] Luca Sbisa getting caught flat-footed on Marleau's goal. (Don't let the opposition back into the game when you've hung three goals on them in four minutes).
3rd MVD: Peter Holland. I'm not entirely sure how he fits into our future, but his goal was really pretty.
2nd MVD: Francois Beauchemin. He broke open the scoring for us, and scored a crucial goal at the very end of the game (when there was a serious chance that the Sharks might come back to tie the game). I've said this a hundred times, but the man is a rock.
1st MVD: EMERSON ETEM! He was all over this game like a cheap suit. After several games' worth of hard work and patience, everything paid off when he got his first NHL goal halfway through the second period. But Etem's game was more than that one goal - he did a beautiful job of setting up the Getzlaf goal, does the hard work in the corners, and is fast. And he obviously has the respect of the captain which bodes well for his future on this team.
Next Game: Wednesday, March 20 at 7 pm PDT vs Chicago. Gulp.