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Shooting themselves in the fin
Defensive struggle ends in shootout loss
11/17/07 - by Mike Lee

The war for the Pacific won't be decided with one battle, but after two rounds, the Anaheim Ducks have established a foothold with back-to-back shootout victories over the San Jose Sharks. Saturday night's match-up was a repeat performance of the Ducks win in Anaheim last week. Corey Perry converted on his chance in the shootout. The Sharks returned to the futile ways in the shootout, misfiring on all three attempts to match Perry. Goaltenders Jean-Sebastian Giguere and Evgeni Nabokov both turned aside 28 shots, but Giguere prevailed in the shootout.

The Sharks topped the Dallas Stars, league's best shootout team, on Wednesday, but could not carry over any of the positives that came out of that shootut.

Sharks captain Patrick Marleau, Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski all took shots that tried to defy physics by penetrating Giguere's abdomen. To date, no known penalty shot has managed to pass through a goaltender, so the Sharks approach is all the more peculiar.

Take away the shootout and the game was a knock down, drag out contest between two of the league's heavyweights. The defenses shined in a low scoring affair that was only blemished with a pair of goals scored on deflections.

"We prepared for it. I told the team it would be a low scoring game," Sharks head coach Ron Wilson said. "I pretty much guaranteed it and you guys got pay attention and any little thing could turn out to be the difference in the game."

Chris Kunitz tipped a shot from defenseman Francois Beauchemin at 15:24 of the opening period to give the Ducks their only goal of the evening. Beauchemin sent in a blast in from the left point that was headed for the right post, but Kunitz changed the trajectory of the shot from the high slot, beating Nabokov.

The goal was book-ended with two phantom hooking penalties on Shark defensemen Alexei Semanov and Kyle McLaren. The Sharks would kill off both penalties, but the defensive lockdown and the two penalties prevented the Sharks from building any momentum in the period.

The Sharks would get four straight man-advantage chances in the 2nd and 3rd periods, but the power play has been as effective as the shootout. With 4 minutes of power play time in the middle period, San Jose still only managed to out 5 shots on goal. Anaheim countered with 11 shots in the period.

Sandis Ozolinsh would earn his paycheck in the 3rd period. The Sharks defenseman would help San Jose tie the game at 1-1 with a blast that rookie Torrey Mitchell deflected past Giguere minutes in, then would make the defensive play of the game moments later.

With the Ducks threatening to turn the tables on Mitchell's goal, Andy McDonald chipped a shot over a fallen Nabokov that was destined for the Sharks goal, but Ozolinsh swept the puck away while diving for the goal mouth, to preserve the tie.

"I was left untouched in front of the net and was lucky enough to get my stick on it," said Mitchell.

The game would open up over the final 10 minutes of regulation, but neither team could add a go-ahead goal. Both teams traded quality scoring chances in the extra period, but neither rteam could score. The Ducks came closest with a shot that trickled toward an open net, but Marc-Edouard Vlasic cleared it out similar to Ozolinsh's play a period earlier.

In the shootout, Sharks head coach Ron Wilson elected to shoot first, sending Setoguchi out first. The rookie dribbled a shot that Giguere easily snuffed. Ryan Getzlaf missed on a move from left to right that ended with a shot clacking off the right post. Marleau tried to replicate the move tha beat Marty Turco earlier in the week, but his shot had nothing on it.

Perry put the Ducks in the drivers seat with an attempt similar to Getzlaf's, only from right to left. Perry got Nabokov to commit, forcing the netminder to drop to the ice, then pulled the puck across the crease before lifting a shot over a flailing glove.

Pavelski seemed to get caught staring into a set of headlights, putting his shot directly into Giguere, ending the evening on a sour note for the sellout HP Pavilion crowd.

"It was a playoff atmosphere you know," said Nabokov. We want they have. I thought we played a good game, but in order to take it, we really need to be aggressive and be a little more physical, but overall, I think we played really well."

Game notes:

Defenseman Craig Rivet and Milan Michalek were injury scratches once again. Defenseman Mathieu Schneider and right wing Mark Mowers were scratched by Anaheim. Jeremy Roenick received the secondary assist on Mitchell's goal, giving him three points in his last three games.

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1 2 3 OT SO T
ANA 1 0 0 0 1 2
SJ 0 0 1 0 0 1
1st period - 1, ANA, Kunitz 7 (Beauchemin, Getzlaf), 15:24.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, SJ, Mitchell 4 (Ozolinsh, Roenick), 7:03.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - SJ: Setoguchi (miss), Marleau (miss), Pavelski (miss). ANA: Getzlaf (miss), Perry (goal).
1st period - Semanov, SJ (hooking), 11:55; McLaren, SJ (hooking), 18:42.
2nd period - Getzlaf, ANA (hooking), 12:09; DiPenta, ANA (slashing), 15:20.
3rd period - Marchant, ANA (hooking), 1:57; Team, ANA (too mant men), 13:18; Niedermayer, ANA (roughing), 19:01; Vlasic, SJ (roughing), 19:01.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
ANA - Giguere 29 28
SJ - Nabokov 29 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
ANA 8 11 7 3 29
SJ 11 5 9 4 29
Power Play Conversion
ANA 0 of 2
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Jean-Sebastian Giguere
Evgeni Nabokov
Sandis Ozolinsh
Referees: Kerry Fraser, Bill McCreary. Linesmen: Brian Mach, Shane Heyer.

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