With the Halloween season fast approaching, the Anaheim Ducks knew their season opener would take place in what has been a house of horrors for them in recent years.
It's only appropriate then that the masked men were a major story, as the San Jose Sharks collected a 2-0 win thanks to a pair of goals from Patrick Marleau to knock off the Ducks in Anaheim's season opener.
Frederik Andersen made 42 stops while Martin Jones turned aside 27. Andersen had a pair of huge stops just past the midway mark of the third period, denying Joe Thornton on a breakaway with his blocker, then Joonas Donskoi on a follow up on the same series of possession. In all he made 16 saves in the third period to keep Anaheim in it, but the Ducks could never solve Jones.
"I wanted to get that first goal, I thought (Jones) was going to be a tough goalie to beat today," coach Bruce Boudreau said to Kent French on the Prime Ticket broadcast. "They should never score in the last minute of the period, but they did it and it gave them momentum for the third."
The first regular season game with The Twins separated had mixed results, with Corey Perry extremely dangerous skating alongside Rickard Rakell and Jiri Sekac . The trio generated the best shot attempt differential at even strength, with Perry generating multiple opportunities. Meanwhile Ryan Getzlaf's grouping with Carl Hagelin and Chris Stewart posted a positive differential, but was nowhere near as consistently dangerous.
San Jose opened the scoring in the final minute of the second period, with Marleau finally finishing after a flurry of pressure. Andersen made a couple of strong stops, denying Joel Ward and then Logan Couture before the puck came to Marleau in the high slot, who ripped it high to the blocker side to send the Sharks to the second intermission leading 1-0.
Marleau struck again with 4:50 remaining in the third, driving in up the far wall to the outside of Simon Despres and wrapping around the net. He swung the puck to the front, getting a deflection off Andersen's stick to skitter home through the five hole and extend the edge to 2-0. Ward picked up his second assist of the game, head-manning the puck to set up the rush up ice.
Anaheim could only manage three shots on goal in the final frame, as San Jose out-attempted the Ducks 26-12 in the third period. For the game the Sharks had a 44-27 shots advantage. Anaheim has not won in San Jose since the 11-12 season.
"That's a good hockey club over there; this game will definitely benefit us on Monday's game," Boudreau said on Prime Ticket.
The Ducks return to Orange County on Monday for the home opener against the Vancouver Canucks at 7 PM.