Monday, February 4 marked the second time in the last three games that the San Jose Sharks battled the NHL Pacific Division rival Anaheim Ducks without their best defenseman, Dan Boyle.
They were out-played at home but won in overtime. This time, they had Jason Demers back and the Ducks were without Cam Fowler and both teams relied on their backup goalies.
The difference turned out to be home ice advantage. Very friendly home boards gave the Ducks their first goal. That broke Thomas Greiss’ streak of over 100 shutout minutes to start the season.
After a competitive but first period, it was obvious goals would be at a premium. Logan Couture opened scoring in the last two minutes with a backhanded rebound of a weak Andrew Desjardins shot.
However, the Sharks did not take the lesson that getting shots through mattered more than where they were aimed. The Ducks had a 14-7 edge in shots in the second because the Sharks did not put a single puck on net in the first half of that period.
That is when two bad breaks proved costly.
The first happened when Tommy Wingels cycled a pass behind the net to Brad Stuart. It bounced off the boards right to the front of the net, where Saku Koivu put the easy backhand home past Greiss before the goalie even knew it was in front of him.
The next came when the officials overruled a linesman who said he saw the puck deflect from Joe Pavelski’s stick off a Ducks attacker and into the stands. The referees called a delay of game, putting the Sharks down two players for over a minute and a half.
They killed the penalties—extending their streak to 27 in a row—but lost valuable time to put pucks on net. The Ducks responded with a Sheldon Souray goal just over two minutes later, and the Sharks could not find the back of the net again despite over three minutes with a man advantage between their sixth power play and having the goalie pulled.
Overall, the Sharks won five more draws, had three more takeaways and two fewer giveaways. So how did they get six fewer shots on goal?
They were frustrated trying to get the puck to the net, missing seven more shots and having nine more blocked than the Ducks, who also had four more hits. It was the first game in which the Sharks failed to get a point in the standings in 2013, but these things happen against good teams.
snaptwig.com three stars of the game:
- Viktor Fasth stopped 25 of 26 shots (.962 save percentage) through traffic dense enough to keep many pucks from reaching him.
- Thomas Greiss kept the Sharks in the game by turning back 30 of 32 (.938 save percentage) and would have earned them at least a point barring the fluke bounce.
- Sheldon Souray got the game winner and blocked a shot to make up for his one giveaway.