The Sharks continued their homestand on Tuesday night with a contest against the divisional rival Anaheim Ducks. Looking to improve their record to 6-0, they would have to shut down the Ducks formidable offense in players such as Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf as well as ex-Shark and current leading scorer of the Ducks, Daniel Winnik.
The game had the feeling that every game featuring these two teams has had in the past; hard-hitting, fast-paced hockey as usual in the Pacific Division. And in traditional Sharks fashion, the game wouldn’t be complete without the dramatics that seem to define Bay Area sports these days. Down to the wire, rallied by a late third period goal from Logan Couture, and a lone goal from Michal Handzus in the shootout, the Sharks scraped by with their sixth consecutive victory to improve to a perfect 6-0 on the season.
But the victory for the Sharks wasn’t necessarily one to be relished. They appeared very offbeat, almost as they did in their first game of the season against Calgary, and if it weren’t for the stellar play of goaltender Antti Niemi, I’m not sure this article would be about a victory.
The Sharks power play was a bit floundered on Tuesday night, as they were without its captain, Dan Boyle, who was scratched because of the flu. The Sharks did get on the board first, with a goal from Joe Pavelski, his second in as many games. That was the extent of the action until the third period. The second period was rather dead for the Sharks, as the Ducks tallied two rapid goals less than a minute apart which put the Sharks in their first scoring deficit in three games.
Fans in the Tank let their voices be heard when Logan Couture appeared to be dragged down on what was a semi-breakaway.
The third period proved fruitful for Scott Gomez, who left a drop pass for Couture and set up a textbook screen that allowed Couture to score the tying goal with less than three minutes to play in the game.
The Sharks penalty kill was perfect again on Tuesday night, going 4-4, and elevating to an NHL 12th best. The Oilers return to the Tank on Thursday, for their second game against the Sharks this season. Many remember their last meeting, in which the Sharks scored six first period goals.