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Ducks continue dominance over SJ
Sharks slip to 8th in the West with 3-1 loss
3/28/12 - By Mike Lee -

With five games left in the regular season, it's time for the Sharks to kick it into gear if they have plans on extending their season. With division foes Los Angeles and Dallas both winning on Wednesday night, the Sharks had to win in Anaheim in order to hold on to their Pacific Division lead. They failed to do either, dropping a 3-1 decision to the cellar dwelling Ducks, falling to the 8th position in the Western Conference Standings.

With the victory, Anaheim beat San Jose for the 5th time in six tries this season. All of those wins came in regulation, accounting for 10 standings points, 13% of the Ducks total this season.

As has been the case in most of their meet-ups with the Ducks this season, the Sharks didn't bring their A-game. Luckily for San Jose, they won't see the Ducks any more this season.

The timid Sharks spent the first 20 minutes of the game feeling out their opponent, looking for a crack to exploit. Problem is, there was little opportunity for them. Top line players were largely absent most of the evening. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton combined for 3 shots on goal and were never a factor in a game in need of some big contributions.

The Ducks grabbed a 1-0 lead midway through the 2nd period, when Bobby Ryan deposited a feed from Devante Smith-Pelly out of the left corner. Ryan slipped past Dan Boyle, driving the net and one-timing the Smith-Pelly feed past Antti Niemi.

San Jose answered less than a minute later, when Ryane Clowe took a pass from Logan Couture near the bottom of the right circle, then cut toward the slot. Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller overcommitted to the right post, allowing Clowe to skate in the opposite direction and slam the puck home for his 15th goal of the season.

Anaheim reclaimed the lead 5:22 into the 3rd period when Teemu Selanne tipped a Luca Sbisa shot over Niemi's stick. San Jose simplified things by allowing Selanne and Andrew Cogliano to roam free in front of Niemi. The goal was Selanne's 50th against the Sharks.

Offensive chances were few and far between the remainder of the game. The Sharks best chance came off a one-time chance by Joe Pavelski with 10 minutes left in regulation. Pavelski ripped a shot that Hiller snared with a waving glove hand.

Selanne missed on a chance to score his 51st career goal against San Jose with 5 minute remaining in regulation when his breakaway chance was denied by Niemi.

San Jose pulled Niemi with a minute remaining in the contest, but the Sharks couldn't get the puck anywhere near Hiller. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf had an open net to shoot, but put a backhand chance wide of the net. Corey Perry scooped up the rebound off the end boards and threw a shot that hit the outside of the net as Boyle dove to block the shot.

Referee Francois St Laurent immediately signaled goal even though the puck never cross the goal line. St Laurent insisted that Boyle knocked the goal off the moorings. Replays clearly showed the puck hitting the bottom pipe that makes up the back side of the goal, so it was difficult to understand how a goal was awarded.

It turned out to be meaningless, given the time remaining. With 10 ticks left on the clock, San Jose didn't have enough time to gain control of the puck, much less moved it the length of the ice and get a shot off on Hiller.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 0 1
ANA 0 1 2 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, ANA, Ryan 28 (Smith-Pelly, Bonino), 9:22. 2, SJ, Clowe 15 (Couture), 10:14.
3rd period - 3, ANA, Selanne 25 (Sbisa, Koivu), 5:22. 4, ANA, Perry 36 (unassisted), 19:51, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Visnovsky, ANA (tripping), 9:00.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 27 25
SJ - emty net 1 0
ANA - Hiller 29 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 8 12 9 29
ANA 8 10 9 27
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 1
ANA 0 of 0
3 Stars of the Game
Bobby Ryan
Jonas Hiller
Joe Pavelski
Attendence
14,780
Officials
Referees: StLaurent, O'Halloran. Linesmen: Cherrey, Heyer.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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