If there was one thing the Ducks could be praised for in their game against the San Jose Sharks, it was their competitiveness. This time last year, most of the questions surrounding Anaheim were if players were in shape and if they truly looked like they wanted to win. This game, along with most of the others, has been far removed from that nightmare start. Despite the 2-1 OT loss, the Ducks fought hard throughout the game. Really, the only thing missing was the offense.
Joe Pavelski opened the scoring in the 1st for the Sharks on yet another power play chance given up by the Ducks when the captain put in a rebound on a good-looking tic-tac-toe play in front of the net. Ducks goaltender Jonathan Bernier sprawled to his right after making the initial save but Pavelski cleaned up the garbage before the net came loose of its moorings.
The 2nd period saw Anaheim even it up when Chris Wagner scored his second goal in three games after putting away a rebound created by his own tip of a long Clayton Stoner shot from the blueline. With four career goals headed into the season (none with Anaheim), Wagner has been a pleasant surprise for Randy Carlyle’s bottom six forwards this season.
Gibson was forced to make a relief appearance as starter Jonathan Bernier did not return to the ice to start the 2nd period. The team stated that Bernier had suffered an upper-body muscle injury in the 1st. It remains to be seen what kind of effect this injury will have as the Ducks play in the second game of a back-to-back on Wednesday. Captain Ryan Getzlaf also exited the game in the 3rd for good after briefly spending time in the locker room during the 2nd period. Both Getzlaf and Bernier are questionable for Wednesday’s game.
With the defense tightened up along with some stellar goaltending by John Gibson in the 3rd period, the Ducks earned the point by getting the game to overtime. However, the team’s struggles in the free hockey period continued as Marc-Eduord Vlasic got loose on a breakaway and scored to seal the victory for the Sharks.
The Ducks will play the second of their back-to-back on Wednesday when a well-rested Nashville Predators team comes to town for a rematch of last year’s first round Stanley Cup Playoff tilt.