(Photo: Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports)
By Pearl Allison Lo
ANAHEIM– Matt Belesky’s goal was the first consecutive goal for either team as the Ducks left for New Year’s Eve celebrations with a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks.
Belesky’s goal came at 18:30 of the second period, as he was aided by Nick Bonino, who had just scored about three and a half minutes earlier.
Anaheim’s now 15-0-2 record at home is their best such start in franchise history, as they snapped the Sharks’ four-game winning streak after losing to them Sunday.
San Jose’s Logan Couture commented, “We didn’t play very well tonight, you know, the second period, we were awful, one of the worst periods for our season, if not the worst…”
The 5-on-5 on ice with two players in the box became a 5-on-4 when the Sharks’ Matt Irwin was called for holding at 5:38 of the first period.
The Ducks’ Kyle Palmieri scored the first and lone goal of the period at 16:24, aided by Beleskey and Cam Fowler.
Antti Niemi made consecutive saves against Anaheim’s Corey Perry with just over 2:47 left in the period. As the first shot bounced off Niemi, Niemi’s second save became a glove catch from straightaway.
Perry then had a slashing penalty with 15 seconds to go to give San Jose a power play.
After a faceoff with about 14.7 seconds left, Couture thought the puck went in the net but it bounced off the goal post and then after a teammate’s missed attempt, Patrick Marleau got the rebound off Jonas Hiller and put the puck inside. However, the goal went under review and it was ruled that time expired before Marleau made the shot.
The Sharks made up for it though by scoring 35 seconds into the second period to tie the game. Dan Boyle was helped by Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton on the continuing power play.
A bouncing puck on top of the net as Niemi tried to find it and Boyle tried to prevent the puck from going in, almost led to an own goal.
The Ducks thought they scored later near the net but Niemi was able to stop the puck with his leg against the goal post.
Anaheim ended up outshooting San Jose 25-8 in the second period, after the Sharks outshot the Ducks 17-8 in the first.
Francois Beauchemin’s first goal of the season put Anaheim up 2-1 at 11:00 of the second. It was the third attempt by the team during the possession and went between Niemi’s legs. Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg assisted on the play.
About a minute and a half later, Couture switched stick sides and then aimed at the top of the net to retie the game, aided by Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
The Ducks scored on the power play when Bonino was able to go around Niemo’s leg. Getzlaf and Fowler got their second assists of the game with Bonino’s goal to make it 3-2. This would be the first of four straight goals for Anaheim.
Before Beleskey’s goal, Thornton had an empty net but Ben Lovejoy was able to come up from behind and block Thornton with his stick.
Getzlaf got into a semi-breakaway and shot off the goal post and into the net to make it 5-2 at 1:14 of the third period. This gave him his fourth career 20-goal season and took Niemi out of the game.
Down shorthanded about 15 seconds later, Saku Koivu went into a clean breakway about a minute into San Jose’s power play. Koivu’s shot missed and Andrew Cogliano scored off the rebound against Alex Stalock, Niemi’s replacement.
The Sharks scored their second power play less than a minute later. Bracken Kearns got his second goal in two games against the Ducks as he tipped in Matt Irwin’s shot from the blue line in front of the net.
Game notes: Cogliano has started 500 straight NHL games, the fifth to do so in NHL history. San Jose starts the New Year playing the Edmonton Oilers January 2 at 7:30pm.