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Duck's agenda sets tone
Anaheim's playoff urgency results in 5-2 white washing
4/4/09 - By Mike Lee -

The hungrier team left HP Pavilion with two points on Saturday night, and that team wasn't wearing teal. After an entertaining 25 minute intro, the Sharks packed it in defensively and let the Anaheim control the ice in a 5-2 white washing before a sellout crowd. The Ducks top line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan feasted on the Sharks, combining for 3 goals and 5 assists to hand the Sharks only their 4th regulation loss at home this season.

Fighting for a playoff birth, the Ducks have gone 9-1-0 in their last 10 games to vault past the St Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild to grab the 7th seed in the Western Conference. No team has been hotter over that stretch and combined with a Sharks roster that played complacent hockey on Saturday night, it was easy to see who the hungrier team was.

Jeremy Roenick summed it up in three words. "They played well," said the veteran centerman. "We came off a very emotional road trip and didn't perform the way we're supposed to. We have to come into our building and use it as a positive. We have to get better and realize that other teams are playing in playoff mode." Getzlaf stole the show, assisting on 4 of Anaheim's 5 tallies, including highlight reel feeds on Ryan's first goal of the night and Selanne's back breaker late in the 2nd period. Anaheim jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, only to see the Sharks claw back with a pair of their own goals.

Ryan jammed home a backhand feed from Getzlaf from behind the net at 2:47 of the opening period after James Wisniewski sent a shot in that was deflected behind thenet. Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov thought the puck was on its way to the right corner, so he slid over to cover the appropriate post. Getzlaf pounced on the puck and sent a backhanded no-look pass to Ryan on the opposite side for the deposit.

Perry put a slap shot past Nabokov for his 40th of the season 3 minutes later from the top of the right circle. Anaheim cycled the puck into the San Jose zone before Getzlaf hit Perry heading toward the net from the blueline.

The Sharks made things interesting by clawing their way back.

Joe Thornton made it 2-1 midway through the period after Dan Boyle carried the puck up ice then had it poked away by defenseman Chris Pronger, who ended up chipping it back to the trailing Sharks centerman. Thornton scooped it up just inside the blueline then cranked a shot past Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller after taking two strides toward the net.

Milan. Michalek tied it 4:07 into the 2nd period on a power play chance after Ryan Whitney took an interference penalty. Christian Ehrhoff carried the puck from deep in the Sharks zone then flipped the puck forward to Michalek at the blueline, where the Sharks winger roofed a 35 foot shot past Hiller.

That would be the closest San Jose would come to the taking a lead in this game.

"I don't think we used our legs tonight," said Thornton. "We didn't skate very well I thought for pretty much the whole game. It's disappointing, but have a chance to redeem ourselves right back tomorrow night." Mike Brown put the Ducks back on top 4 minutes after Michalek's goal after the Sharks got caught chasing the puck. Erik Christiansen forced a turnover behind the Sharks net as he skatd from right to left, then flipped a pass out into the slot where Brown was cutting to snap a shot off Nabokov's glove and into the net.

Teemu Selanne put the Ducks back up by a pair of goals with 2:21 remaining in the period after offsetting penalties had he teams skating 4-on-4. Getzlaf carried the puck over the blueline and hit Selanne with a perfect pass as the winger cut in front of Nabokov. Selanne got a stick blade on the puck, chipping it past the Sharks netminder and the Sharks comeback had fully evaporated.

"They controlled the play for the most part of the game and dictated that from us not skating," said Rob Blake. "They're hungry to get in [to the playoffs] and we have to match that intensity. It was a lot of what we did tonight." Sharks shot themselves in the foot by putting a red hot Ducks power play unit out on the ice. Ryan converted on a Rob Blake hooking penalty with 6:46 remaining in the game on another bang-bang pass in front of Nabokov. Once again Christensen setup the goal with a laser to the front of the net.

"We weren't there mentally or physically," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "That's a dangerous recipe. When we finally started to skate, which was later on in the game, we didn't make passes and that slowed us down again. One of the coaches said, 'at this time of the year, you earn your wins,' and they did. Give them credit. They played an extremely good game. Their top players were their top players tonight." Game Notes:

Boyle's assist on Thornton's goal gave the defenseman the franchise record for assists in a season by a blueliner. The mark was previously held by Sandis Ozolinsh. Michalek's power play tally extended the Sharks franchise mark for consecutive games with at least one goal on the man-advantage. Evgeni Nabokov also recorded an assist on the goal, the first point for a Sharks goaltender this season.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
ANA 2 2 1 5
SJ 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, ANA, Ryan 29 (Getzlaf, Perry), 2:47. 2, ANA, Perry 30 (Getzlaf, Pronger), 5:46. 3, SJ, Thornton 25 (Boyle), 9:35.
2nd period - 4, SJ, Michalek 23 (Ehrhoff, Nabokov), 4:07, (pp). 5, ANA, Brown 2 (Christensen), 8:07. 6, ANA, Selanne 26 (Getzlaf), 17:39.
3rd period - 7, ANA, Ryan 30 (Christensen, Getzlaf), 13:14, (pp).
Penalties
1st period - R. Neidermayer, ANA (elbowing), 19:56.
2nd period - Whitney, ANA (interference), 3:02; Mikkelson, ANA (roughing), 16:57; Michalek, SJ (roughing), 16:57.
3rd period - Blake, SJ (hooking), 11:59; PRonger, ANA (interference), 16:56.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
ANA - Hiller 30 28
SJ - Nabokov 28 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
ANA 8 11 9 28
SJ 11 12 7 30
Power Play Conversion
ANA 1 of 1
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Ryan Getzlaf
Bobby Ryan
Corey Perry
Attendence
17,496
Officials
Referees: Jackson, Watson. Linesmen: Sharrers, Shewchyk.

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