The San Jose Sharks played catch-up the entire game on Monday, attempting to answer every Anaheim Ducks goal. And they did so twice. However, Andrew Cogliano’s go-ahead goal in the third proved to be the game winner as Anaheim improved to 3-0 against San Jose this season with a 3-2 victory.
“We seem to get away from our game when we play them and be too fancy in the neutral zone,” Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said. “We need to realize what works against teams, how we’re successful and play that way against them.”
A frustrated Joe Pavelski shared his teammate’s sentiments.
“We had enough chances and were good enough at times that, if we stay with the plan, we definitely win the game,” Pavelski said.
Part of that plan for San Jose was to avenge a pair of losses to Anaheim from October, a plan that was quickly derailed 2:27 into the game when Luca Sbisa put the Ducks on the board, 1-0. For Sbisa, it was his first goal of the season and first since January 16 of last year.
Pavelski evened the score at 1-1 for the Sharks with just 27 seconds remaining in the opening period. Pavelski set up in front of Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and slammed home a rebound from Dan Boyle’s shot from the left side. The goal was Pavelski’s 15th of the year, tying him with Logan Couture for the team lead.
A crucial Joe Thornton turnover near the Anaheim blue line allowed the Ducks to regain the lead at the 3:42 mark of the second period. Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan stole the puck from an indecisive Thornton, raced toward the other end and created a 1-on-1 with Sharks netminder Antti Niemi. Ryan beat Niemi to his glove side in the shootout-like scenario, giving Anaheim a 2-1 advantage. The goal was Ryan’s 11th of the season.
“There was just so much time,” Thornton said. “I had so much time and I just mishandled it at the end. But I have to make a better decision at that point.”
When asked by a media member if the turnover was more frustrating since Thornton is one of San Jose’s experienced leaders, head coach Todd McLellan defended his captain.
“Well, last time I checked he’s human and is going to make mistakes too,” McLellan said.” He does a lot of really good things for our hockey club and we’re going to support him 100 percent. Would he like to have that moment back? Absolutely.”
San Jose forward Jamie McGinn picked up Thornton and his team three and a half minutes later, finding the back of the net to knot the score at 2-2. McGinn took a cross-ice pass from Sharks defenseman Justin Braun and drilled home his eighth goal of the season.
Anaheim would have the last word, however, and that statement came with 7:14 to go in the second period. Cogliano’s goal gave the Ducks a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish despite improved play from San Jose down the stretch.
“In the third period, we began to establish our game again,” McLellan said. “But it was too late.”
The loss simultaneously snaps a four-game overall win streak for the Sharks while also increasing their losing streak to the Ducks to three straight. San Jose aims to rebound Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks, who won the last meeting between the two clubs on November 26, 3-2. Like the first meeting of the season, Wednesday’s contest is also at HP Pavilion and concludes a six-game homestand for the Sharks. San Jose then takes to the road, starting with another match-up with the Canucks in Vancouver on January 2.
Wednesday’s game will air on Comcast Sports Net California and TSN in Canada for television. Local radio coverage can be found on 98.5 and 102.1 KFOX.
Did you enjoy this article? Want to know when more content is available? Click “subscribe” at the top of this article. It’s free! And it’s only one occasional email in your inbox. Feedback is always welcome, either via comment or by emailing Ken directly.
Continue reading on Examiner: http://lodeplus.com/sports-in-san-jose/ken-mitchell