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WCQF Game4: Sharks sweep Ducks out of the playoffs
Martin Jones and Tomas Hertl lead Sharks to series win
4/18/18 - By Mike Lee -

With a little more than five minutes remaining in regulation of Wednesday night's series deciding Game 4 of the Sharks Western Conference Quarter Finals series with Anaheim, Jakob Silfverberg was faced with the biggest paradox of his season. Silfverberg was mixing it up with Sharks defenseman Brent Burns as a whistle sounded stopping play. Burns stood there with his arms planted at his side, smirking like a school boy on the first day of summer vacation. Silfverberg wanted to put his stick through Burns' god awful beard, but he couldn't. The Ducks were slowly dying as time was slowly ticking away on their season and Silfverberg couldn't pull the trigger like all his Duckish instincts had taught him to do. He couldn't because his team was trailing by a goal. What a glorious moment for Burns.

What a glorious moment for the Sharks. San Jose held a 2-1 lead, and held all the cards in Game 4. They had superior goaltending all series long. They had timely scoring, including the go ahead goal after the Ducks had tied the game. They had the series in the bag and they knew it.

San Jose closed out the series with a wild 2-1 decision that was the most exciting low-scoring game you'll ever see. They completed the series sweep by doing just about everything right, outscoring the Ducks 16-4 across the four games.

Martin Jones made 30 saves to earn his fourth win of the series, and was the linchpin in the series, stopping 128 of 132 shots in the series. Jones was spectacular, keeping the Ducks top scorers off the score sheet throughout the game as well as the series.

Game 4 turned out to be the game the Ducks finally figured out that dumb penalties gave them a better chance to compete. Unlike Game 3, Anaheim behaved themselves for the most part, and as a result it was a tight hockey game until the final horn.

It was a low scoring affair, as both teams focused on the defensive details. Logan Couture had a breakaway chance 4:30 into the game, but his backhand attempt was too light and Ducks goaltender John Gibson gloved it for a stoppage.

Marcus Sorensen scored his 3rd goal of the playoffs with a put back attempt at 5:43 of the opening period. The Sharks forward tried jamming a shot past Gibson from the top of the crease, but was denied when the netminder got both leg pads butterflied. The puck kicked out to the left side where the Swede scooped it up before pivoting to face teh net and lifted a shot for the 1-0 Sharks lead.

Sa Jose just missed doubling their lead four minutes later when Joonas Donskoi, Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane teamed up on a passing sequence that ended with a Kane shot bouncing off Gibson's right shoulder.

Joe Pavelski tripped Marcus Pettersson 7:13 of the 2nd period to put the Ducks on the power play for the first time in the game. San Jose escaped the ensuing penalty kill drama free.

Nick Ritchie obliged the Sharks with a slashing penalty a minute after Pavelski stepped back on the ice. The Sharks power play looked nothing like the wrecking crew unit that destroyed the Ducks in Game 3. San Jose would only put 6 shots on goal in the period, but none of those came on the Ritchie penalty.

A hooking penalty to Eric Fehr put the Ducks on their third power play of the night. Corey Perry looked as if he would finally get on the board in this series when the puck landed on his stick as he was backed up to the top of the crease. Perry spun to his right and tried swinging a shot home, but Jones pinned his right skate to the post to shut the door once again.

The Ducks thought they finally converted at the end of the period while still on the power play, but the Ryan Getzlaf shot crossed the line two-tenths of the second too late.

60 seconds of the penalty carried over into the 3rd period and Rickard Rakell appeared to tie the game with the Ducks 26th shot of the game, but Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer challenged the play for offside. Replays clearly showed that Getzlaf failed to enter the zone with the puck as his two linemates crossed the blueline, thus overturning the goal.

Brandon Montour was sent off for high sticking Kane in the head at 2:03. The Sharks power play misfired again, not putting any serious pressure on Gibson. Melker Karlsson was sent off right after the Montour penalty expired, catching Andy Welinski with a high stick as he was falling to the ice.

Anaheim finally solved Jones, 7:53 into the 3rd period when Andrew Cogliano jammed a Ryan Kesler feed from the end boards past the Sharks netminder. Jakob Silfverberg forced the puck into the Sharks zone, then fought off a pair of defenders before sliding the puck around the right corner boards. Kesler slipped the puck out to the front of the right post were Cogliano beat Paul Martin to the puck for his 1st goal of the playoffs.

San Jose wasted no time jumping back out on top when Tomas Hertl deflected a point shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic through Gibson's pads. Vlasic was set up on the left point and ripped a shot to the slot, where Hertl was loitering for the deflection. It was the third consecutive game where Hertl has scored.

The final five minutes of the game was pure chaos. With their season on the line, the Ducks had to score or it was curtains. As it turned out, it was curtains. Anaheim pulled Gibson with two minutes remaining in the game, but were forced to reinsert him in net after a faceoff was called just outside the Ducks blueline.

As painful as it was for the Ducks to watch the seconds tick away, the euphoria built to a crescendo in the arena as the inevitable inched closer to reality. When the Ducks lost possession of the puck one last time, the Sharks collected it and calmly skated it to the corner as the final horn sounded.

Game Notes:

* In a series oddity, the Sharks actually took more penalties than Anaheim in Game 4, with the Sharks committing four infractions. The Ducks were only whistled for three minor penalties.

* In another statistical about face, the Sharks recorded more hits than Anaheim in Game 4. San Jose recorded 28 hits to the Ducks 27 hits.

* By sweeping the Ducks, the Sharks and Vegas Knights match up will mark the eight time in NHL history that two teams have met in a playoff series with both advancing on series sweeps. Of the prior seven instances, six have produced Stanley Cup Champions.

* The series sweep was the second in Sharks history. They also swept the Vancouver Canucks in 2013.

* Corey Perry led all players with 5 shots on goal. The Ducks out-shot San Jose 31-24 in the game. Martin Jones .970 save percentage in the series was a big reason that the shot war didn't favor the game winner.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
ANA 0 0 1 1
SJ 1 0 1 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Sorensen 3 (Burns, Karlsson), 5:43.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, ANA, Cogliano 1 (Kesler, Silfverberg), 7:53. 3, SJ, Hertl 3 (Vlasic), 9:09.
Penalties
1st period - Lindholm, ANA (tripping), 15:14.
2nd period - Pavelski, SJ (tripping), 7:13; Ritchie, ANA (slashing), 10:18; Meier, SJ (high sticking), 13:02; Fehr, SJ (hooking), 19:00.
3rd period - Montour, ANA (high sticking), 2:03; Karlsson, SJ (high sticking), 4:35.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
ANA - Gibson 24 22
SJ - Jones 31 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
ANA 10 14 7 31
SJ 9 6 9 24
Power Play Conversion
ANA 0 of 4
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Martin Jones
Tomas Hertl
Marcus Sorensen
Attendance
SAP Center - 17,562
Officials
Referees: Furlatt, Sutherland. Linesmen: Brisebois, Kovachik.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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