SAN JOSE – It wasn’t their best effort by any means, but the San Jose Sharks defeated the Anaheim Ducks in a shootout on Tuesday at HP Pavilion, 3-2, to improve their franchise-best start to 6-0-0.
Logan Couture tied the game late for the Sharks, who had trouble generating shots on net all night. Couture’s wrist shot on a drop pass from Scott Gomez trickled through Jonas Hiller’s pads with just 2:45 remaining in regulation. It was Gomez’s first point as a Shark.
In the shootout, Michal Handzus scored on the first attempt and the Ducks failed to put one past Antti Niemi, giving San Jose the extra point in the standings. The game ended when Teemu Selanne rang one off of the post.
Trailing 1-0 after one, the Ducks took the lead in the middle frame. First, Francois Beauchemin threw one on net from the corner and it deflected in off of Douglas Murray's skate at 8:40. The goal came just five seconds after a Ducks power play expired, and moments after Couture nearly converted a partial breakaway while shorthanded.
Less than a minute later, Daniel Winnik and Ryan Getzlaf swarmed Marc-Edouard Vlasic behind the Sharks’ net. Getzlaf took control of the puck in the corner and found Matt Beleksey open in the slot, and Beleksey’s wrist shot sailed over Niemi’s shoulder at 9:39.
The Sharks had trouble generating offensive chances, especially in the first two periods, and were being outshot 19-5 midway through regulation.
Joe Pavelski scored his third goal in the last two games to put San Jose ahead. Patrick Marleau pushed the puck ahead to Joe Thornton, and the captain threaded a pass through Luca Sbisa to an open Pavelski, who ripped in a wrist shot at 9:46 of the first period.
The Sharks have outscored the opposition 12-2 in the first period through their first six games. They’ve scored first in five of six.
For the first time this season, the Sharks did not score multiple power play goals. They didn’t have any, in fact, and finished 0-for-2.
The Sharks’ penalty killing unit remained effective, though, going 4-for-4. The Sharks have now killed 13 straight penalties over last three games.
In the second period, Marleau was the victim of some questionable calls by referee Dave Jackson, who whistled him for a phantom trip of Corey Perry, and sent him to the box at 19:55 on a goalie interference call in which Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler made more contact with Jonas Hiller than Marleau did.
Marleau drew a trip on Sbisa early in the third after his penalty expired with a strong move to the net, but San Jose couldn’t capitalize.
Niemi finished with 28 saves on 30 shots, including several impressive saves with the Sharks shorthanded. Niemi is 18-11 in his career in shootouts, and is 5-0 this season.
Hiller had only 18 shots directed his way in regulation and overtime, stopping 16 of them. He stopped Pavelski and Ryane Clowe in the shootout after allowing Handzus' goal.
Dan Boyle was scratched with the flu, after he missed the third period against Vancouver on Sunday with a bloody nose. In his place, rookie Nick Petrecki played in his first NHL game.
Todd McLellan shook up his bottom two lines late in the game, putting TJ Galiardi, Adam Burish and Andrew Desjardins together; and Scott Gomez with Ryane Clowe and Tommy Wingels. Marty Havlat skated with Michal Handzus and Couture.
Jason Demers (wrist) and Brent Burns (groin) remain out, but both took part in the pregame skate.
The Sharks host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and Nashville Predators on Saturday to close out their six-game homestand. They visit the Ducks on Monday, Feb. 4.
Justin Braun played in his 100th NHL game. … Petrecki was the second Sharks rookie to make his NHL debut this season, joining Matt Irwin … The Sharks were 27-23 in the faceoff circle. ... Braun and Marleau each had three shots. ... Brad Stuart is now a team-high +9 this season.