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Pacific Division Champs
3-1 win over Ducks locks up title
3/28/08 - by Mike Lee

It's not the Stanley Cup, but winning the Pacific Division is a big step in that direction. In beating the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 on Friday night at the Honda Center, San Jose locked up the 3rd division crown in franchise history. Joe Pavelski had a franchise best 3 assists and goaltender Brian Boucher turned aside 23 shots to lead the Sharks to their 47th victory of the season. The Sharks lock up the 2nd spot in the Western Conference playoff race and trail the Detroit Red Wings by 5 points with 4 games remaining.

The victory was a carbon copy of the win over Anaheim one week earlier at HP Pavilion. The Sharks threw a steady dose of offensive pressure and a strong forecheck at the Ducks and kept them away from their own net.

In the end, San Jose would convert three times and keep the pressure on Anaheim.

Patrick Marleau gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 6:38 of the opening period on a wrist shot that beat Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller. The goal came 4-on-4 after Jody Shelley and Travis Moen were sent off for roughing. Marleau took a centering pass from Joe Pavelski at the blueline then snapped a 30-foot shot past the Ducks backup.

Scott Neidermayer answered almost 5 minutes later with his 8th of the season on a power play after Christian Ehrhoff was sent off for high sticking Doug Weight. Sharks rookie Torrey Mitchell made the situation even more difficult by breaking his stick on the faceoff in the San Jose zone to begin the penalty. Neidermayer used Mitchell and Mathieu Schneider as screens, then rifled a shot that went 5-hole.

Jeremy Roenick scored his 14th goal of the season midway through the 2nd period on a put back after Pavelski fired a shot on goal during a Sharks power play. Hiller failed to control the puck and Roenick easily deposited the puck into the Anaheim net for his 1200th career point.

Curtis Brown made it 3-1 with 2:54 remaining in the period on a wild sequence in front of the Anaheim net. Working the puck down low, Pavelski tried tucking the puck under the left post from behind the net. Hiller pinned the puck against the post, but Curtis Brown stabbed at it, pushing both Hiller's right leg ad the puck into the net.

As the referee was signaling goal, Jody Shelley decided to slash Chris Kunitz, in retribution for Kunitz's cheap shot on Jonathan Cheechoo last week. George Parros immediately went after Shelley, throwing punches even though the referees were trying to separate Kunitz and the Sharks enforcer.

A holding penalty to Marleau gave the Ducks a 4-on-3 power play for more than a minute, but the Sharks killed off the predicament.

Neidermayer clanked a shot off the post 6 minutes into the 3rd period, but that's as close Anaheim would come to putting one past Boucher. The Sharks backup goaltender turned aside 10 shots in the period, and 23 for the game to win his 3rd game in 3 starts.

Boucher's only lose came in a mop up role after giving up the game winner against Phoenix earlier in the week.

Game Notes:

Craig Rivet missed his 2nd game this week, getting the night off to rest before the playoffs begin. Alexei Semanov made his way back into the lineup in Rivet's place.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 1 2 0 3
ANA 1 0 0 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Marleau 17 (Pavelski, Ehrhoff), 6:38. 2, ANA, S. Neidermayer 8 (Schneider, Ryan), 11:09, (pp).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Roenick 14 (Pavelski, Campbell), 11:10, (pp). 4, SJ, Brown 3 (Pavelski), 17:06.
3rd period - None.
Penalties
1st period - Shelley, SJ (roughing), 6:15; Moen, ANA (roughing), 6:15; Christian Ehrhoff, SJ (high sticking), 10:36; Ehrhoff, SJ (holding the stick ), 14:20.
2nd period - Schneider, ANA (hooking), 4:45; Weight, ANA (interference), 10:40; Pahlsson, ANA (hooking), 11:10; Shelley, SJ (roughing), 17:06; Parros, ANA (roughing), 17:06; Marleau, SJ (holding), 17:56.
3rd period - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Boucher 24 23
ANA - Hiller 27 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 6 15 6 27
ANA 8 6 10 24
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
ANA 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Brian Boucher
Patrick Marleau
Attendence
17,334
Officials
Referees: O'Halloran, Peel. Linesmen: Heyer, Lazarowich.

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