Chart via naturalstattrick.com
The Ducks welcomed Corey Perry and Tim Jackman back to the lineup for their final game of calendar year 2014, but that was just about the end of the good news for tonight. Only a few minutes into the game after returning from a concussion, Tim Jackman dropped the gloves with Michael Haley. Jackman had a huge advantage in size, maybe landed a few and definitely finished on top so he'll get the decision.
Only about a minute and a half after the fight Joe Pavelski opened the scoring by deflecting a Marc-Eduard Vlasic point shot past Frederik Andersen. 1-0 Sharks. Just about a minute after that the Sharks appeared to extend their lead to two, when Andrew Desjardins tipped a puck through Andersen's five hole. Luckily for the Ducks it was ruled that Long Beach native Matt Nieto interfered with Freddy (as he was tied up with Hampus Lindholm in front) and the goal was waived off. Marginal call, but we'll take it.
Patrick Maroon had a wide open net to shoot at with a cross ice pass coming his way in the first five minutes as well, but he couldn't get a stick on it.
Just past the halfway point of the game Joe Thornton got hit cleanly by Clayton Stoner and had to go to the locker room with an injury. He did not return. Through the middle of the first the Ducks had some good 5-on-5 play, including a couple more cross crease passes, but couldn't get any shots on net.
Kesler was called for interfering with Pavelski shortly after the hit on Thornton and during the PK Andersen was forced to make a HUGE save, going post to post. Immediately after the Ducks killed the Kesler penalty, they were shorthanded again thanks to a terrible hooking call against Etem. The kill was a little better, the Ducks had a 3-o-2 rush that was broken up before they could get anything toward Niemi and Andersen had to make two good saves as the Sharks turned it the other way.
To finish the period the Ducks again had to kill a penalty, this time it was totally legit as Sami Vatanen pulled Logan Couture down instead of letting him in all alone on Andersen. The final kill with only 2:07 on the clock was the Ducks' best of the period, but thanks to the special teams the Sharks outshot the Ducks 14-3.
The second period was better for the Ducks. As expected they got a bit of a soft makeup call, when Haley went off for tripping, but not much came from it.
Rickard Rakell was the stand out for the Ducks in the middle frame. Early on he hit a post. Midway through the period he walked around two Sharks who ran into eachother to feed Maroon with another gaping 4x6 in front of him, but once again Maroon couldn't find the puck with his stick. And with a few minutes left he tried to dangle around Brent Burns but just lost the handle. Later on that shift, the Ducks beat Niemi, but it was waived off, also for a goalie interference. Devante Smith-Pelly made some contact with Niemi, and as such he was sliding away from the play when the rebound came to Etem. Payback is a bitch.
However, most of the action of the second period came right at the 20 minute mark. With a few seconds left, Perry exited the zone and threw the puck to the far boards. Tommy Wingels put a late hit on him and Perry didn't like it. Perry gave Wingles a shot to the back of the head, before he got up Ryan Kesler and Perry were both on top of the former Miami University star. When the dust settled, the Ducks were set to be on the kill to start the third. Ryan Getzlaf was even less amused and after having words with the officials he threw his stick into his own empty bench in disgust and was tagged with unsportsmanlike conduct for doing so to create a 5-on-3 for two full minutes to start the third period.
The Ducks weathered the storm for the vast majority of the San Jose two man advantage, but Francois Beauchemin broke his stick AND Freddy Andersen lost his (in the net). Eventually Jakob Silfverberg gave his stick to Beauch, but the Sharks were able to get a cross ice pass to Pavelski for the one timer that scored with only two seconds remaining in the 5-on-3 (5-on-2.25?). For what it's worth, Andersen nearly got across to get a toe on the Pavelski shot, but no dice. 2-0 Sharks.
As one would expect, the Ducks got the next power play, but also as one would expect it wasn't going very well. They iced it twice in a row with the extra man, then Maroon hit the cross bar. With 42 seconds left in the PP Lindholm was sent off for interference to negate the rest of the "advantage."
With score effects in full swing, the Ducks had the better of the play through the middle of the third, but nothing incredibly dangerous. They again got the next power play, but roughly half way through it was also washed out by a penalty. Matt Beleskey was called for chopping the stick out of Couture's hands away from the puck (officially called interference) This is one of my biggest pet peves, slashing the stick without the stick breaking. It's not Beleseky's fault that LOCO couldn't hold on to his GODDAMNED STICK.
The crowd got all riled up about a non-call for Perry getting held, but he was asking for it, trying to get up in Niemi's grill. Some other stuff probably happened, but the only thing worth noting was a penalty against Vatanen for unsportsmanlike conduct. His stick was broken after having been slashed by Patrick Marleau, Vatanen didn't realize it, when he went to play the puck a few seconds later the stick failed and he slammed it on the ice and went off for two minutes (with only four and a half remaining).
After the kill, Bruce Boudreau pulled Andersen with 2:18 remaining. Couture scored on the empty net, because who else, and that was all she wrote for 2014.
The Good: Freddy, as usual and Ricky Raccoon. I was skeptical of the assertions that Rakell had been given a boost of confidence by going down to the AHL, but even though he has been pulled away from Cogs and Silf in the last few games he's still kept up some impressive play.
The Bad: Missed opportunities. In the middle of the first period and throughout the second, the Ducks had chances to get right back into it, especially Patty Maroon, but couldn't capitalize. That's how the Ducks play sometimes, and why it burns them in the playoffs, so it's bound to happen, but never a good thing.
The Ugly: I want to blame it on the refs, but the Ducks put themselves in a terrible position to allow those calls to be made. As goes Ryan Getzlaf, so go the Ducks. In the first game between the Ducks and Sharks he lost his shit on a diving penalty against Sami and the game might as well have been called then. This time he threw his stick into the bench and just dared the Refs to give San Jose a 5-on-3 to start the third. They did and the Ducks had no chance after that.
3rd Icehole: ME - I realized when I got home that I was wearing my Oakland Seals T-Shirt which is a pretty big magumbo violation. Also I was sitting next to two kids (maybe 10-12 years old) and swore my head off when Beleskey was called for Couture not holding his stick tight enough. Their mother was right in front of me. Sorry.
2nd Icehole: Joe Pavelski - Both goals against Andersen. Dude has crazy, sick, nasty hands to deflect anything that comes his way into the net and is lethal on the PP. He showed both tonight. Just give him the C already.
1st Icehole: Ryan Getzlaf - See "The Ugly" above. Stupid idiotic penalty sealed the game for San Jose.
Next Game: Friday, January 2, 2015 vs. St. Louis; 7pm PT
Have a happy and safe New Year everyone, and may the spring of 2015 be better than that of 2014.