San Jose Sharks goaltender Zach Sawchenko, right, stops a shot by Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique in second period action at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Sun Mar 6, 2022 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
ANAHEIM- The San Jose Sharks fell 3-2 in overtime to the Anaheim Ducks Sunday. Adam Henrique, Sonny Milano and Rickard Rakell scored for Anaheim and Anthony Stolarz made 20 saves for the win. Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored for San Jose and Zach Sawchenko made 33 saves in his first NHL start.
After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner talked about Sawchenko’s performance:
“Sawzy, I thought he stood tall. I thought that he gave us the saves we needed early, he made some big saves to keep the momentum on our side. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the two points for him. But for his first full start I think he should be pretty happy with it.”
Undrafted, Sawchenko played for the San Jose Barracuda and the Allen Americans from 2019 to 2021 before signing with the Sharks at the end of last season.
The goaltender talked about making his first start: “It was a long road to get here. I think it’s that much more special, doing it here with the same team that I started with whatever it was, four years ago or three years, whatever the number is.” Sawchenko is of Ukrainian descent and he was asked about the performance of the Ukrainian anthem that played before the game. He said: “Obviously it’s cool. It was cool to hear that yesterday in San Jose too.”
The game-winning goal came after a very convenient line change by the Ducks, and Boughner was not happy about it:
“It’s just a complete, disastrous blown call. And the thing that pisses me off the most is they don’t even come over to the bench, they race off the ice. Just, the respect to come and explain it. Everybody missed it, no review, if you watch it, the replay, it’s too many men all day long.”
The game started with a fight between Jeffrey Viel and Sam Carrick.
Logan Couture made it 1-0 Sharks at 7:47. Couture carried the puck in, looking for the pass but took the shot instead and sent the puck right under Stolarz. Assists went to Timo Meier and Santeri Hatakka.
The Sharks came out of the first period with the lead and a shot lead of 10-9. The Sharks had to kill three penalties and had one power play in the period. Their penalty kill gave up just one shot and had two short-handed shots. Their power play got two shots on goal.
The Ducks tied it up at 1:41 of the second period. Max Comtois’s shot went off of Sawchenko and then off of Adam Henrique and into the net. Assists went to Comtois and Troy Terry.
A little over a minute later, Marc-Edouard Vlasic got the lead back for the Sharks with a shot from the blue line through traffic. The puck wet off of Kevin Shattenkirk’s leg and into the net. Nicolas Meloche got the assist.
Sony Milano tied it up again with 20 seconds left in the period. The puck came out of a scrum in front of the net and Milano was right there and in the clear to put it away. Assists went to Adam Henrique and Cam Fowler.
The second period had just two penalties called, one to each team. Each power play got just one shot in. The Sharks were badly outshot in the period, 13-6 Ducks.
At 7:03 of the third period, Jacob Middleton puck the puck in the net during a penalty kill but the play was called offside and the goal was called back. Middleton was about half a stride ahead of the puck that Nieto was bringing over the line. To follow up on that valiant effort, Middleton took a stick to the face at the end of the penalty kill to give the Sharks a power play.
Nine seconds into overtime, Logan Couture was covering Adam Henrique while the Ducks had the puck. Couture took an eye off of Henrique, who was near the bench. While Couture was looking away with Henrique behind him, Rickard Rakell jumped on the ice at the other end of the bench, giving himself a good lead on Couture and Burns both. Rakell skated into the zone alone and beat Sawchenko over the glove. Assists went to Terry and Fowler.
After the game, the teams conferenced about the play. It could have been a too-many men on the ice play since Henrique was lackadaisical about getting off the ice. But the goal held up.
The Sharks struggled in the face-off circle Sunday, winning just 38% of the draws. They improved in the third, winning 53% of them. The Sharks excelled at blocking shots, however, blocking 28 to the Ducks’ 7.
The Sharks lost Radim Simek to injury late in Saturday’s game, giving Santeri Hatakka a chance in the lineup Sunday.
The Sharks next play on Thursday in Los Angeles against the Kings at 7:30 PM PT.