Martin Havlat scores a late second period goal as the San Jose Sharks defeated the rival Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in a shootout win Saturday Night at the Shark Tank. Mandatory Credit: George Nikitin/AP

Sharks Survive Ducks Late Rally, Win Game in Shootout 4-3

It Almost Got Away- Joe Pavelski scored the only goal of the shootout period as the San Jose Sharks survived a third period surge by the Anaheim Ducks plus their own missed opportunities in overtime.  Team Teal beat their arch rivals 4-3 before another full house at the Shark Tank. The Sharks with the win close this current homestand with a 5-0-0 mark which including passing some tough test against the LA Kings, St Louis Blues and the Anaheim Ducks over the last four days. The Sharks also as of the end of play Saturday night have sole possession of the Pacific Division as they embark on a four game road trip which beings Tuesday in Toronto.  The Sharks scored three times in the second period after falling behind by a goal in the opening period. Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau and Martin Havlat scored for the Sharks. Marleau’s goal was of the short handed variety just seconds after the Ducks went on a power play. Antti Niemi made 28 saves in the game and three more in the shootout period as he was able to shut down the tandem of  Nick Bonino, Corey Perry and Kyle Palmeri. The Sharks route to the win was probably not the preferred route as they led 3-1 in the third period with 7:15 remaining before the Ducks found two late goals to forcing overtime. The Ducks late rally allowed them to come away with at least one point in the standings for themselves. The Sharks also caught a break as Teemu Selanne was a healthy scratch for Anaheim. The Ducks are not playing him on the second end of back to back games when they are traveling. Selanne has a history of making life tough for the Sharks whenever he is on the ice and Team Teal certainly did not miss him.

Missed Opportunities for Openers- In the first period the Sharks put 12 shots on Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller who would go on to make 32 saves of his own on the evening. The Sharks had their first good chance of the evening when the Ducks Mark Fistric drew the games’ first penalty with a charge. Just 20 seconds into the power play Joe Thornton’s shot towards the goal hit the post making a loud ringing sound but not much else. Hiller later would make back to back saves as Thornton and Marleau had consecutive close range scoring chances as well. Moments later off a Brent Burns cross ice feed pass Thornton had another shot that just went wide. Tomas Hertl was in the perfect position to tap the puck into an open area of the net that Hiller would have never gotten back to cover, however somehow the puck got past Hertl and the Ducks caught a huge break as the result. The Ducks would open the scoring at the 5:56 mark of the opening period when Dustin Penner was able to get an up ice between Scott Hannan and Tommy Wingles over to Corey Perry who had a one on one break away. Perry’s wrist shot from 25 feet away beat Niemi top shelf.

Sharks Come Alive- Despite the missed opportunities of the opening period the Sharks were not going to let that stand in the way of what they needed to do in the second period. The Sharks would find the game tying goal at the 4:16 mark of the middle period when Couture was at the right place at the right time. Couture was positioned perfectly in front of Hiller and not only screened him out but also tipped in a slap shot from Mark Edouard-Vlasic. Vlasic took a cross ice feed pass from Marleau and drilled his slap shot right where Couture has set up his screen. Moments later a big Anaheim miscue would result in the Sharks taking the lead right after Justin Braun was sent to the box for a hooking penalty. Off of a face the Sharks were able to clear the puck out of their zone past the Ducks Cam Fowler who tried to knock it down with his hand only getting a piece of the flying puck. As the puck rolled to the Ducks defensive zone Hiller played the rubber biscuit about a good 25 feet away from the net leaving it vacated.  Hiller then tried to get the puck back to Fowler but overshot him and found Marleau instead with Thornton right behind him. Marleau fed the puck to Thornton, who quickly fed it back to Marleau who then put it in the open net before Hiller could get back. Fowler’s diving attempt to retake the puck ended in vain. The Sharks would increase their lead to two goals with just under a minute remaining when Martin Havlat was able to backhand a puck past a diving Hiller after taking a feed pass from Hannan. The Sharks were dominant in the period outshooting the Ducks 16-9.

Quacks Attack Strikes Back- As dominant as the Sharks were in the second period, the Ducks were equally as dominant in the third period particularly in the final eight minutes of regulation playing time.  The Sharks very early in the period just missed a chance to increase their lead to three goals when Marleau’s pass to to Thornton missed his stick as his side of the net was open. Hiller would a short time later make an impressive save on a Couture shot on goal. The Ducks however would slowly start to retake some of the momentum as they were able to begin to establish longer possessions in the Sharks defensive zone. The Sharks had success in turning away the Ducks early by keeping their sticks in the passing lanes. However as the period wore on possibly the fatigue of playing their third game in four days added to the pressure of playing a high caliber opponent may have started to wear on Team Teal a little bit. With 7:10 remaining in the period the Ducks would pull to within one goal when a shot from near the right point by Alex Grant hit the Niemi glove hand and popped up in the air. As the puck was over his head Brad Stuart tried to bat the puck away but could not. The puck would drop behind Niemi and fall into the net to bring Anaheim to within a goal at 3-2. This goal gave the Ducks a huge boost as they stated to all but totally close off the rink to the Sharks as they controlled the puck completely through the rest of the period. With 3:10 remaining and the Sharks trying to hang on  to their slim lead, a bad face off drop by the official at the upper right-hand circle hit Bonino’s stick. Bonino immediately who passed it over to Ben Lovejoy. From there Lovejoy drilled a shot that got around Niemi and found the back of the net to tie the game.

Overtime/Shootout- Bonus Hockey was probably something the Sharks could have done without Saturday night yet this was the hand they were dealt. In the Overtime period the Sharks had an opportunity on a power play chance after a Ducks holding penalty to Perry. However the Sharks simply could not execute very much as they really only got one decent shot on Hiller in the two minute window. With just over 30 seconds remaining in the overtime period Jason Demers was called for a holding penalty that was questionable at best. However the Sharks only had to find a way to kill off just the time on left on the clock and were able to do so forcing the shootout. In the shootout Pavelski scored what would be the only goal in the three rounds. The Ducks complained that Pavelski had actually stopped his forward motion towards the goal before shooting the puck. The replay showed Pavelski did slow down but never stopped his motion this making his score valid. Niemi was nails in the ovetime as he kept Bonino, Perry and Palmeri tries out of the net. Palmeri’s final attempt was a line drive that Niemi snared out of the air just as if he was playing shortstop.

Twitter Quote- “That’s a good homestead folks!  The Sharks  just beat Tampa Bay, New Jersey, LA, St. Louis & Anaheim. 10 pts 4 the good guys,2 for the bad guys…” from @Bakes_Jamie13 … Jamie Baker, Sharks Radio Color Commentator and former Sharks great.

Next Sharks Game- The Sharks from here leave for a four game road trip which starts on Tuesday (Dec 3rd) and will take them through Toronto, Pittsburgh, Raleigh NC (Carolina), plus Minnesota. The first stop will be in Toronto against the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Center. The Maple Leafs are lead by Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and former Vancouver Canuck Mason Raymond. Through 27 games they hold a mark of 14-10-3 and are in 6th place overall in the Eastern Conference. The puck drops 4:30pm PT (7:30pm ET in Toronto). The game can be seen on Comcast Sports Net in Northern California and heard on the Sharks Radio Network.

The Kingshark

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Tags: Antti Niemi Joe Thornton Logan Couture Martin Havlat Patrick Marleau San Jose Sharks

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