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Defense steps up to down Ducks
Blake and Vlasic score in 3-1 win
1/21/10 - By Mike Lee -

With defenseman Dan Boyle on the shelf with an upper body injury, the Sharks were wondering if the defensive corps could pick up the slack on Thursday night as San Jose hosted the Anaheim Ducks at HP Pavilion. The answer came in the form of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Rob Blake who both scored to help pace the Sharks to a 3-1 win over Anaheim.

Boyle is expected to miss Saturday night's game against the Buffalo Sabres, so it was a good opportunity for the younger Shark defenseman to show their stuff. Doing it against a physical team like Anaheim required more focus on details.

“Blake and Vlasic were partners until tonight, then we broke them up and they both scored," said McLellan. "I consider that secondary scoring. We got a couple from the defensemen which I don’t think is odd, but to have the only two come from defensemen is important.”

The game started with an interference penalty to Joe Thornton right off the opening faceoff. Matt Beleskey helped offset things by taking a slashing penalty 50 seconds later.

Things turned spirited when Anaheim enforcer George Parros and Ryane Clowe squared off in a spirited fight. Parros was taking his first shift after missing the last ten games with a laceration, and the layoff was apparent in the way Clowe gained control of the fight early. The two would exchange punches for a good minute before the linesmen broke things up.

"He's a big guy, he's got pretty big hands," Clowe said of Parros after the game. "Who ever's out there, if they're going to take liberties on our teammates, I need to step in there and fight or whatever it may be and that's what happened tonight."

An early attempt to by referees to control things proved fruitless. Brad Staubitz and Nick Boynton would square off midway through the period, but that served as the under card to the Parros-Clowe bout.

Troy Bodie caught Manny Malhotra and Kent Huskins with an errant high stick with a minute left in the period, giving the Sharks a four-minute power play.

The Ducks came within five seconds of killing off the double-minor, but Vlasic slipped a 30-foot shot past Jonas Hiller off a faceoff at 2:47 of the 2nd period, after Patrick Marleau took a faceoff draw and slid it back to the defenseman. The goal was only Vlasic’s 3rd of the season and first in 37 games. He last scored on November 1st against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"It was a good win by (Marleau)," said Vlasic. "I just put it on net as quick as I could and it found a hole. I'm glad I finally got one. "

San Jose made it 2-0 on another goal by a Sharks defenseman. Blake joined an odd-man rush and slipped past a Ducks defenseman as Joe Thornton flipped a pass to a spot between the circles. Blake chipped a knuckling shot past Hiller, who waved at it with his glove. The Ducks netminder appeared to be fooled by the shot, never coming close with the glove.

"I didn't see it until it hit my stick," chuckled Blake after the game. "They always talk about going to the net with your stick down when you have players as good as that."

The Sharks looked intent on keeping the foot on the gas to start the 3rd period, coming out of the gate flying. Things just didn’t turn out the way they had planned when Beleskey beat Evgeni Nabokov with a 15-foot shot from the left side 1:15 into the period. Kyle Chipchura stick-handled into the Sharks zone and veered toward the left corner, drawing two Shark defenders with him. The move created a hole for Beleskey, who took a drop pass and fired it into the Sharks net to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Scott Neidermayer took a holding penalty two minutes later, but the Sharks power play failed to convert.

Jed Ortmeyer would put the Ducks on the power play midway through the period after inadvertently backhanding the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty. The Sharks would kill the penalty, running their streak to 30 straight without allowing a goal.

Joe Thornton would help extend that streak by one after taking a bad tripping penalty behind the Ducks net. Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle called a timeout 42 seconds left in the power play, but it was all for naught as the Sharks dodged the bullet. Carlyle had pulled Hiller toward the end of the power play, which gave the Ducks the extra attacker even after Thornton ’s penalty expired. Anaheim made things interesting, but Marleau would bag the empty-netter with 4.6 seconds left to ice the game.

“We had our chances in the game," Carlyle said. "We kept it close. We give up the winning goal on a bad change. We had a chance to finish Blake when he made the pass up, and then we swung away from him and made a bad change there. The guys coming on the ice didn’t have a chance to make any effect on the play. Then late in the game we had a couple of chances on the power play to push it across the line, and that was the difference. ”

Game Notes:

Blake’s goal was his 237th, moving him into a 10th place tie with Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on the all-time goals scored list for defensemen.


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1 2 3 T
ANA 0 0 1 1
SJ 0 2 1 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Vlasic 3 (Marleau), 2:47, (pp). 2, SJ, Blake 4 (Thornton, Marleau), 16:34.
3rd period - 3, ANA, Belesskey 5 (Chipchura, Neidermayer), 1:15. 4, SJ, Marleau 35 (Thornton), 19:54, (en).
1st period - Thornton, SJ (interference), 0:10; Beleskey, ANA (slashing), 1:02; Parros, ANA (fighting major), 3:53; Clowe, SJ (fighting major), 3:53; Staubitz, SJ (goaltender interference), 6:50; Boynton, ANA (fighting major), 10:29; Staubitz, SJ (fighting major), 10:29; Bodie, ANA (high sticking – double minor), 18:52.
2nd period - Heatley, SJ (high sticking), 4:45; Wisniewski, ANA (hooking), 7:34; Perry, ANA (hooking), 17:31.
3rd period - Neidermayer, ANA (holding), 3:22; Ortmeyer, SJ (delay of game – puck over glass), 9:57; Thornton, SJ (tripping), 16:50.
Shots Saves
ANA - Hiller 24 22
ANA - empty net 1 0
SJ - Nabokov 27 26
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
ANA 10 9 8 27
SJ 7 13 5 25
Power Play Conversion
ANA 0 of 5
SJ 1 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Rob Blake
Patrick Marleau
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Referees: Kozari, O'Halloran. Linesmen: Henderson, Lazarowich.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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