The Anaheim Ducks were looking to continue making forward progress in the playoff race after a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night. Tonight, they would face another Pacific Division rival in the San Jose Sharks, and they would not be so fortunate this time, falling to the San Jose Sharks by a final score of 6-2.
Let’s take a look at how this game got out of hand for the Ducks and resulted in them playing catch up all night.
The first began quickly for the Anaheim Ducks, with Rickard Rakell getting an early breakaway. Unfortunately, he was stopped by Aaron Dell as he tried to move the puck to his backhand. Shortly after, Francois Beauchemin would sit for slashing, giving the first power play of the game to San Jose just 2:29 into the contest.
The penalty kill looked strong, with San Jose getting little shots through to John Gibson, as Cam Fowler and Chris Wagner both came up big with blocked shots during the Sharks man advantage. Francois Beauchemin would make up for his mistake quickly by making a great defensive play to break up a 2-on-1 opportunity for the Sharks, keeping the score at 0-0 and saving John Gibson the trouble of having to do that himself.
The first ten minutes of the game largely belonged to the Ducks, with Anaheim controlling a majority of the possession and shot attempts, playing well in all three zones.
However, with 6:07 remaining in the opening period, the Sharks would be the first to get on the board. A puck bounced off the foot of Montour and to a wide-open Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who snapped the puck past John Gibson to give the Sharks the early lead. 1-0 San Jose.
The Ducks would have a few chances to immediately respond but were unable to capitalize on them, with their closest chance being Adam Henrique hitting the post on a 2-on-0 chance close in front of Aaron Dell. However, they were unable to find a way past Dell and even the score at one apiece.
The physicality picked up drastically in the last minute and a half of the first period, with Nick Ritchie and Josh Manson both laying big hits and getting some reactionary hits from San Jose players. The first period came to a close with the Sharks still leading 1-0, but the Ducks ahead in shots on goal by a count of 12-8.
The 2nd period would start slowly, but with 16:22 remaining in the middle frame, Kevin LeBanc would double the lead for the San Jose Sharks on a partial breakway, beating John Gibson on the short side underneath the crossbar.
Cam Fowler would then sit for hooking against Joe Pavelski with 13:47 left in the middle frame, giving the Sharks their second power play of the night. The Ducks penalty kill once again held strong and even generated a couple shorthanded opportunities.
The Sharks were called for too many men on the ice with 10:44 remaining in the middle frame, finally giving the Ducks their first power play opportunity of the evening. The Ducks really needed their power play to at the very least generate momentum in their favor at this point in the game, facing a 2-0 deficit.
However, they were barely able to even get set up in the offensive zone, and the Sharks found themselves back to even strength with very little trouble. In true Ducks fashion, any potential momentum they may have generated during a lackluster power play was given right back on a Brandon Montour slashing penalty.
The Sharks third power play of the night yielded devastating results as far as Anaheim was concerned. The penalty kill once again looked dangerous shorthanded, getting a few shots in the direction of Aaron Dell before the Sharks quickly turned the other way and Mikkel Boedker buried a wrist shot top corner behind Gibson, digging a deeper hole for the Ducks to face. 3-0 Sharks.
Yet another slashing call on the Ducks with 5:11 remaining in the middle frame would put the Sharks right back on the power play for their fourth time. Adam Henrique was the slashing offender this time, giving the Ducks penalty another test at a crucial point in the game.
This time, the penalty kill would be more successful, killing off the Sharks power play and keeping the Ducks within three. Once again, the Ducks had a great shorthanded opportunity on a clean breakaway from Andrew Cogliano, but Aaron Dell stoned him with the right pad as he tried to slide the puck five-hole.
The penalty parade continued, but finally this time with a call against San Jose, as Joel Ward sat for tripping with 2:07 left in the period. The Ducks desperately needed the power play to produce, and they would get even better odds to do so as Joe Pavelski would go off for slashing, giving the Ducks a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:42.
After some struggling to complete simple passes, the Ducks catch a really lucky break as an attempted pass from Rickard Rakell deflects off the stick of Justin Braun and behind Aaron Dell to get the Ducks on the board! 3-1! LET THE COMEBACK COMMENCE!
The 2nd period came to a close after a great chance for the Ducks to pull within one went through Silfverberg and was cleared down the length of the ice. The Sharks still led 3-1, and the Ducks still led shots on goal, now by a 25-15 count. They weren’t out of it at this point in the game, by any stretch.
The 3rd period started with the Ducks carrying 11 seconds of power play time, but they were unable to make the best of it. However, they quickly capitalized through Ryan Getzlaf just 1:47 into the period to bring the Ducks back to within a goal. 3-2!
The Sharks would respond with a breakaway that forced Josh Manson into taking a penalty, and immediately, the Ducks found themselves down by 2 once again thanks to a power play goal from Joe Thornton that beat John Gibson off the post and in. 4-2 San Jose, still with 17:13 remaining in regulation.
After some back and forth action, the Sharks would restore their three-goal lead with just over ten minutes remaining in regulation, once again through Mikkel Boedker. 5-2 San Jose. RIP my hopes and dreams.
With 4:54 remaining in the game, the Sharks would add to their lead after the Ducks were gambling in the offensive zone and gave up an odd-man rush going the other way. Melker Karlsson ripped a shot past Ryan Miller (he took over with about 9 minutes to go, but -shrug emoji-) and the Sharks were just killing the clock at this point. 6-2 San Jose.
The Ducks put the puck past Aaron Dell once again with just under two minutes to go in the period via a deflection off Adam Henrique, but it was ultimately ruled after a review to be no goal due to the puck being knocked in with the glove of Henrique.
The final minute and a half of the clock ticked away and the Ducks found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-2 decision against a Pacific Division rival. Not the ideal result when fighting to grab a Wild Card spot that’s highly contested at the moment.
The Ducks will be back in action on Tuesday night when they host the New York Rangers for game four of their five-game home stand.