The Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks have now played three games against each other this season, and in each of those games a different goaltender has posted a shutout. On October 10th it was Martin Jones, on November 11th it was Anton Khudobin, and tonight it was John Gibson. Both Ducks victories have been 1-0 scores.
Despite six power plays in the first two periods, four for the Sharks and two for the Ducks, neither team was able to get on the board during the first forty minutes. In the first period, the Ducks' power play looked as good as it has at any point this season, moving the puck quickly and crisply around and through the Sharks' penalty killing box, but was not able to find the back of the net. It came closest when Sami Vatanen hit the post and forced a video review.
The Ducks had a few more great opportunities to score, most notably when Nate Thompson took a nice pass from Mike Santorelli but was unable to beat Jones with a wrist shot late in the first. Chris Stewart and Micheal Haley also earned five minutes for fighting.
The second period was something of a defensive struggle, with one of the few great chances coming when Jakob Silfverberg pulled the puck out of the corner and it came to Nick Ritchie who was unable to get a good shot away from point blank. Later, Brent Burns, who shot the puck every time it came his way all night long, gave the Sharks one of their best chances of the game when he dragged the puck into the slot and took a wrist shot that was swallowed by Gibson.
If the neutral zone was a trap in the second period, it turned into a conveyer belt in the third, particularly for the Ducks, who took more even strength shot attempts in the third period than in the first two periods combined. It began with a brilliant rush up ice by Vatanen in which he danced around a San Jose defender and forced Jones to make a save.
Not long after, Thompson outworked Sharks captain Joe Pavelski behind the San Jose goal and then threw the puck in front, where Santorelli picked it up and beat Jones with a quick glove side shot to make it 1-0.
That would be the first and last goal scored all game, but the Ducks continued to pressure, putting up one of the strongest possession periods of the season in the final frame. Vatanen, Cam Fowler, and the top line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Rickard Rakell kept applying pressure in the San Jose zone, resulting in many more scoring chances.
After pulling their goaltender, the Sharks did generate a couple of dangerous chances, notably a point shot from Brenden Dillon with eight second left that was turned away by Gibson.