ANAHEIM – Maybe they were scared straight.
A day after losing to arguably the worst team in the NHL, the Sharks skated to a 4-1 win over one of the finest, snapping Anaheim’s seven-game winning streak with a victory at Honda Center Sunday evening.
The Sharks’ four-game losing streak, all in regulation, is now behind them after an impressive victory over one of their biggest rivals. Anaheim (7-2-0) lost for just the second time, while the Sharks improved to 5-4-1.
Another quick start and an impressive penalty kill keyed the important win, in a game that got exceedingly nasty from the second period on.
Brent Burns got things started on the scoreboard. After Anaheim was forced to ice the puck multiple times, the defenseman wristed in a point shot at 8:25 after a clean faceoff win by Patrick Marleau. The Sharks registered the first seven shots, including Burns’ 100th career goal.
The Ducks looked dangerous on a pair of power plays later in the first, but it was Joe Pavelski who scored on a man advantage at 19:39, redirecting a pass from Joe Thornton after getting in position in front of the net to increase San Jose’s lead to 2-0.
The Sharks have outscored their opponents by a combined 12-1 in the first period, an NHL best.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored the only goal of the second period, sneaking a backhander through Frederik Andersen during a four-on-four situation midway through regulation.
A series of strange officiating decisions preceded Vlasic’s goal. Scott Hannan was called for high-sticking Sami Vatanen at 9:40, and despite getting clearly whacked in the face, Vatanen was issued an embellishment minor.
Twelve seconds later, Ryan Getzlaf and Mirco Mueller pushed and shoved in the faceoff circle. Getzlaf dropped his gloves, and Mueller did the same, but the linesmen jumped in before the Sharks rookie could engage in his first career NHL fight with the Anaheim captain.
The hostility only grew from there.
Late in the period, Tommy Wingels and Corey Perry fought briefly, and the Ducks took exception to James Sheppard putting a puck towards the net just after the horn sounded, resulting in a scrum at the buzzer.
In the third, Tim Jackman jumped Vlasic, and the result was Pavelski fighting with Ben Lovejoy at 10:18.
Perry and Justin Braun were about to fight at 12:58 before the linesmen broke it up, but that only seemed to bring the pot to a boil minutes later, when John Scott was called for coming off of the bench to engage Jackman at 13:56. An even bigger scrum involving Adam Burish, Tomas Hertl, Nate Thornpson and even Ducks goalie Andersen occurred while Jackman and Scott were being kept away from each other near center ice.
Getzlaf and James Sheppard fought with 3:06 left in regulation, as the game featured 165 penalty minutes between the two teams.
Wingels’ power play goal in the third period made it 4-0, while a goal from Matt Beleskey at 14:53 of the third spoiled the shutout bid by Antti Niemi.
Anaheim was trying to complete a perfect five-game homestand, having outscored the Wild, Blues, Sabres and Blue Jackets by a combined 13-3 score in four straight regulation wins.
The Sharks have won six of the last eight meetings with Anaheim, and improved to 4-9-0 in their last 12 at Honda Center.
The California rivals will renew acquaintances on Nov. 29 at SAP Center.
Despite entering the game four for their last 11 on the power play, Anaheim couldn’t solve the Sharks’ penalty kill until late in the game when it didn't matter, and Beleskey scored. The Ducks finished 1-for-7.
San Jose was 2-for-4 on the power play and is 9-for-36 on the season.
Niemi secured his fourth with of the season, and improved to 11-9-0 career against Anaheim. He made 33 saves.
Andersen lost for the first time after starting the season with six straight wins, allowing four goals on 37 shots.
Once again, San Jose shuffled its lines for the game. Wingels was bumped up to the Logan Couture-Marleau line, while the third line was Chris Tierney between Matt Nieto and Sheppard. In the second period, Marleau skated on the Thornton-Pavelski line, while Hertl was with Couture and Marleau.
The Sharks have started with five different third lines in the last five games.
Jason Demers missed Saturday’s game due to an unspecified health reason, but returned in place of Matt Irwin.
San Jose continues its three-game road trip in Colorado on Tuesday and Minnesota on Thursday. The Sharks return for a brief two-game homestand on Nov. 1 against the New York Islanders and Nov. 6 vs. Vancouver.
ANAHEIM – Maybe they were scared straight.
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