The Anaheim Ducks scored three unanswered goals between the first and second periods as they chased Antti Niemi and went on to a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks in a game that frankly wasn’t all that close. Trailing 2-1, the Ducks went on a scoring binge in which they scored four of the games final five goals to deal the Sharks a heavy handed blow to their playoff chances. Along with that, the Ducks gave the Sharks a strong jolt back into the reality that has been this years edition of team teal. The Sharks would jump ahead twice in the first period only to watch Anaheim rally to score goals that almost looked like they were running practice drills. The loss not only was a blow for the Sharks, but also probably a heavy does of humble pie and the hard reality that maybe somehow their season wont go to far past April 8th, one way or the other. Tonight to say to Sharks were horrible defensively and as a team truly does not even begin to cover it. Overall the Sharks in the last 40 minutes tonight might as well been the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tonight, they probably wouldn’t have beaten Columbus either.
The Sharks missed the opportunity to regain the lead in the Pacific Division over Dallas and also climb over Phoenix. The Sharks still have this opportunity before them however with each loss the task will get that much harder. The Sharks have to somehow forget the mess this game was and get ready to play the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center Tuesday Night. The Sharks no longer have the game in hand on the Kings and honestly need to find a way to regroup after the bad game Monday Night. This was one of those games where you realize that if the Sharks fail to make the post season, losses to teams which were much lower in the standings may very well be team teal’s undoing in the 2011-12 campaign which is now teetering. This was simply not the best time for the Sharks to “stink out the joint”.
Recapping the Sharks Trip to the Woodshed:
Can’t Keep The Ducks Down- The beginning of the game at least for short while looked like it would be a continuation of Martin Havlat’s revival as he scored the games first goal knocking in the rebound of a Brent Burns shot from the point. Havlat’s dive at the puck knocked it past Ducks starting goalie Jeff Deslauriers to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. Deslauriers started in place of usual starter Jonas Hiller who was given the night off. Before the evening was out, that would not matter one iota. The Sharks held this lead for 49 seconds as it became apparent early team teals defense was not all there. In the first of what would become several embarrassing moments for the Sharks in this game, Bobby Ryan would score an easy goal as the defense lost track of Kyle Palmieri who got past three Sharks. Niemi did stop Palmieri’s shot, but the rebound squirted out to Ryan who put the puck into an open net as Niemi was out of position.
The Sharks though would soon regain the momentum and the lead on Ryan Clowe’s goal which was the completion of a perfectly executed tic-tac-toe play as Clowe took a perfect feed pass from Havlat in the slot, after Havlet took a feed from Dan Boyle. The Sharks retook the lead 2-1 two minutes after Ryan’s goal and seemed ready to take charge of the game. The Sharks would struggle defensively though but managed to hold the lead as the Ducks started to assert a strong forecheck. With 3:55 remaining in the period, Burns would draw an a bad interference penalty that would ultimately cost the Sharks. During the power play, the Sharks did manage a few clears but could never really regain control of the puck as Anaheim had free reign in the Sharks defensive zone. Ultimately the Ducks’ Nick Bonino would pass the puck to Francois Beauchemin who had no trouble putting the puck past Niemi. The Sharks by the time the first period had ended were lucky to still be tied as Anaheim’s Saku Koivu missed an open net in the waining seconds of the period.
Ugliest Period of the Year- The second period of this game was probably one of the more forgettable ones for the Sharks in some time. Anaheim outscored the Sharks 3-1, and only needed 33 seconds to answer the Sharks only goal of the period. Anaheim out shot the Sharks 20-11 and for all intensive purposes the Sharks simply got boat raced. The Sharks would again commit an embarrassing turnover as they gave away the go ahead goal on a neutral zone turnover breakaway. This time the Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf took the turnover and raced towards Niemi. This time Niemi made the save, however lost the puck in the process. Corey Perry who trailed the play found the puck and easily put it into the net to give the Ducks a 3-2 lead. This was just the beginning of what was about to go bad to worse for team teal.
The Ducks would control much of the period as the Sharks simply had no answers for the Anaheim forecheck. Later in the period, Nate Guenin would put the arch rival up by two as he drilled a shot from the point past Niemi. The Sharks again could not clear the zone and were looking confused and lost thanks to the Ducks forecheck. Guenin’s goal was his second of the season, and once his puck hit the back of the net, team teal looked more like a team being exposed as a weak playoff contender at best. Coach Todd McLellan would go to the bullpen and yank Niemi and send in Thomas Griess realizing that this game was starting to get out of hand. The Sharks had a glimmer of hope late in the period as Joe Pavleski would score to bring the Sharks within a goal a 4-3 when he tipped in a Burns shot past Deslauriers with 2:31 remaining in what had been a rough period for team teal.
No sooner that the public address announcer would be announcing the Pavelski goal, the Ducks would add insult and injury simultaneously. Kyle Palmieri would score just 33 seconds after Pavelski’s goal as the end result of yet another Sharks turnover. By the time the period was over, the Sharks looked like a team that had absolutely no idea as to what had hit them. Memories of the two recent games against Nashville and Detroit by now were long gone.
Ducks Close Out The Tank- The Sharks in the third period had some chances and arguably even better looks. Team teal though somehow could not put together any sustainable offense let along score on a net minder who had been cut by Edmonton before joining the Ducks as a third string goalie. The Sharks had two power play opportunities and failed on both of them. Griess to his credit did his best to keep the Sharks in the game with key saves on Ryan early in the period and later against Devante Smith-Pelly. Griess was probably the reason this game didn’t become a bigger blow out (say 9-3), but the score was the biggest exaggeration of all. This contest wasn’t close and the Sharks again simply had no answers for a team that was in 12th place coming into the night and hadn’t been scoring a ton of goals themselves prior to this game. By the time the game had ended, the Sharks may had done the one good thing they did as a team. Get to the charter to L A right after the game…quickly and quietly…
The Good News- At least the Blades of Teal “Tweet-up” was a success. I hope our lead writer had a great birthday today in spite of this clunker of a game.
Game Analysis- Just as it seemed the Sharks had taken steps forward with wins over Nashville and Detroit, the Sharks Monday Night against the Ducks took several steps backwards, maybe just enough to all but negate what was accomplished in the previous two games. The Ducks looked like the team fighting for the playoff spot, and the Sharks looked like a team that really didn’t fight for anything period. If they weren’t embarrassed as a team after this one, be worried. Be very worried. All you can say about the Sharks game tonight against an arch rival who was starting a third string goalie and had little else going for it was that the effort by team teal was embarrassingly unacceptable given the stakes. The Sharks were there in name only Monday Night. The Ducks may not make the post season this year, however in sweeping three games at the tank and winning two of those three convincingly, it’s conceivable they will succeed in making darn sure the Sharks go nowhere after April 8th either. There was nothing you could take out of this game except to realize that maybe the Sharks are in 9th place for a reason, and when it’s all said and done that they may not be a good team anymore, forget elite. That’s worst case scenario. Best case scenario, probably the Sharks making the post season and lasting about six games regardless of their seeding.
I’m not trying to be overly negative and bash the Sharks for a bad game, however when you allow an arch rival to come into your house and basically collect the rent and leave, and consider where that team is and has been in the standings all year, you just realize that maybe this season is close to having run it’s course. In my truncated schedule of 15 games starting March 12th, the Sharks are 3-1-1 for 7 points out of 20 needed. The Sharks could still make the post season and still could even win the Pacific Division and capture the number three seed in the Western Conference. However, if you are looking for more than that from this team as it is now, you may be asking too much. If the Sharks don’t quickly put this debacle out of their mind and get beat in L.A. Tuesday Night, it will be a good bet that the gas tank on this team will be near empty. It sure looked that way Monday Night.
GO SHARKS…BEAT L.A.!!!
The King Shark
And Don’t Forget to Check The Links Below For #JABS Updates and To Get Your Sauce Hockey Official #JABS Trust Fund Shirts!
Blades of Teal: THE Final Word on San Jose Sharks Hockey!!!