(Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
By Pearl Allison Lo
ANAHEIM — San Jose evened up their holiday series with the Ducks, avenging their loss before Christmas with a New Years’ Eve shutout Wednesday, 3-0.
Emotions were high both on and off the ice as sticks were thrown and slammed and the crowd booed the refs in person and online during “Ducks ‘80s Night”. Anaheim had at least three penalties each period.
For the Sharks’ part, Coach Todd McLellan said on team performance, ”Much better energy tonight. The formula is right there for the group. We had to have a discussion about what makes us successful and we brought it again.” He added, “Discipline, composure, whatever word you want to use. I thought we had a good dose of it when we needed it.”
Joe Pavelski continued his streak of scoring against the Ducks this year, with his first two-goal game against them. Pavelski now has four goals in his last four games.
It was Antti Niemi’s third shutout of the season as he made 28 saves. Niemi said, “It was a tough start for me, not getting too many saves in the first.” Tommy Wingels added, “He was on tonight, he was seeing pucks. He had really good rebound control.”
The Sharks also earned the win without Joe Thornton since midway in the first period and with the return of Anaheim’s Corey Perry from injury. When asked about Thornton’s status, Coach McLellan responded, “Jumbo’s fine. He’s going to be okay. He played three minutes and still found a way to get on the score sheet, which is a credit to him, and after that, the way the group responded. There was a lot of juggling going on at the bench, and everybody was alert…We won as a team tonight.” It is unknown though, yet, whether or not Thornton will play the next game.
San Jose scored first when Pavelski redirected a pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the blue line along the boards. Thornton also aided on the goal 4:33 into the game.
Andrew Desjardins almost made it 2-0, but the goal was taken back after Micheal Haley made incidental goalie contact with the Ducks’ Frederik Andersen.
Anaheim’s Patrick Maroon had an up front opportunity when a Sharks player fell down in the Ducks’ end. In San Jose’s end, Maroon took a pass from Ryan Getzlaf, but Maroon’s shot went wide diagonally behind Niemi.
The Sharks had three power plays in the span of just over five minutes.
Both Getzlaf and Thornton left during the first power play. Getzlaf was helped off the ice after blocking one of Brent Burns’ shots and came back during the second power play. During the power play, Tomas Hertl tried to put in the puck on Andersen’s left, but was denied. Hertl then went around the net to pass to James Sheppard, but Sheppard’s shot was gloved by Andersen.
San Jose ended the first with a 14-3 shot advantage. Seven of their attempts were blocked and Anaheim won the faceoff battle throughout the game.
The Ducks got their first power play at 3:49 of the second and the Sharks were lucky Anaheim did not score after a giveaway near the net.
Maroon was once again at the side of the net later, but the pass missed him.
With 4:53 left in the period, it looked like after missed opportunities, Emerson Etem would finally tie the game. However, the referees dealt Anaheim a wave off of a goal as well.
The physicalness between the Pacific Division rivals came to a boiling point at the end of the second period. Perry made a pass alongside the boards and after the horn, Wingels knocked Perry into the boards and Perry retaliated. All were issued two minute penalties. Wingels was called for interference and Perry and Ryan Kesler got roughing. After the announcement, Getzlaf threw his stick exiting the ice and received two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. He commented after, “These are two great hockey teams on the ice, so we shouldn’t be standing here talking about the refs at the end of the game. That’s the frustrating part. I accept full responsibility for my role in that.”
San Jose nearly squandered their new 5-on-3 power play opportunity, but Pavelski scored his second goal one second before the power play ended.
The teams then traded penalties, but both of the Ducks’ power plays were cut short by their own penalties.
Anaheim had a shot that hit the post during their second power play.
The fourth power play of the period came at 11:55. Justin Braun seemed to be holding Perry at the net. When the referee declined to make a call, the “ref you suck” chants increased.
The last penalty of the night went to Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen, who slammed his stick against the ice and received an unsportsmanlike conduct.
Andersen left the net at 2:18 and Logan Couture scored an empty netter at 17:55 to seal the game. It was Couture’s first goal since December 18.
McLellan added that he thought, “Patty Marleau was excellent. He’s frustrated because he’s not scoring, but he did so many good things on the ice surface today, with his legs, with his body, faceoffs, you name it.”
The Ducks outshot the Sharks 15-5 in the third.
Game notes: San Jose has scored at least one power play goal in all games against Anaheim this season, breaking an 0-for-6 hole post-Christmas break. Against the Ducks, they are 15-16 on the penalty kill. Haley had his first fight at 3:02 against Tim Jackman. The Sharks start the new year at home on the 3rd, hosting Saint Louis Saturday at 7:30pm.