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No answers for Hiller or Ducks
Ducks take 2-0 series lead after winning 3-2
4/19/09 - By Mike Lee -

If the Sharks are trying to dispel the notion that they’re playoff pretenders, they’re either setting us all up for one of the greatest con-jobs of all time, or the notions are true. Another offensive drought cost San Jose in game 2 on Sunday night, as the Sharks dropped their second straight to the Anaheim Ducks at HP Pavilion. Home ice advantage is a mere afterthought after the Ducks scored twice in the 3rd period to take a commanding lead in the best-of-seven series.

If the Sharks want to focus any attention on correcting their short comings, they can start with the power play. Their special teams unit misfired on a 6 power play chances once again, and surrendered a power play goal on 1-of-2 Anaheim chances.

"Obviously we still need to get the power play going," said SHarks head coach Todd McLellan. " We gotta find a way to score there and that would be our biggest concern. But a lot of the other issues we had heading into Game 2 from Game 1 we addressed and we were better in those areas. In the process versus the results areas we talked about all year, the process was pretty good tonight, but the results weren't what we wanted. So we're disappointed, but I don't think there's the doubt factor that's crept in."

Anaheim obliged the Sharks with plenty of penalties for the second straight game, but the Ducks penalty-kill looked like world beaters against a Sharks power play that insists on trying to score from the blueline. San Jose has now failed on 12 man-advantage situations in the series.

We've got to look at ourselves," said Sharks captain Patrick Marleau. "We've got to excute better. Keep going to the net and good things are start happening for us."

The Sharks opened the game up with adjustments to their top line, with Patrick Marleau moving back to his natural centerman position, with Devin Setoguchi and Travis Moen on his wings. Joe Thornton was relegated to 2nd line duty, working with Jeremy Roenick and Jonathan Cheechoo.

Ryane Clowe’s eagerness earned himself an early interference penalty after he leveled Teemu Selanne in the offensive zone. The Ducks would use the opportunity to take an early lead when Bobby Ryan scored his first career playoff goal with an impressive effort in front of the Sharks net. The rookie winger put a shot on goal from the slot that rang off the post and slid back toward Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov. Ryan skated in on net and got his stick under Nabokov to jam the puck home.

Anaheim defenseman Ryan Whitney would take a slashing penalty at 5:03, but the Sharks would fail to capitalize on the chance. They would put themselves offside twice during the power play, epitomizing their poor execution with the man advantage.

McLellan elected to shift focus on what Anaheim was doing right, rather than what his team was doing wrong.

"It's very effective. I'm telling you the same thing I told you the other night. They're very good at it. I thought our power play was better tonight. We created more chances, more traffic at the net. I think we had 26-27 shots on goal with the two games power play-wise, with traffic tonight. Eventually if we keep getting those chances, it'll go in and it will work in our favor."

San Jose finally got to Jonas Hiller, snapping eight-plus periods between playoff goals for the Sharks, when Clowe intercepted clearing pass just inside the Anaheim blueline. The Sharks forward snapped a shot through defenseman Sheldon Brookbank’s skates. Hiller didn’t see the shot until it was past him, and San Jose got on the board for the first time in the series.

Chris Pronger would take a cross checking penalty in front of his own net two minutes later, but the Sharks once again failed to convert with the extra attacker. Jonathan Cheechoo would send Pronger right back to the box after taking a cross check in front of the Anaheim net, but that simply translated into another two minutes off the clock without a goal for San Jose.

"I like the way we played tonight," add Claude Lemieux. "Obviously the puck didn't go in for us, but I like what we created in the offensive zone. We have to fine tune our special teams a little bit, but there were plenty of opportunities."

With the period winding down, the Sharks got caught in their own zone and couldn’t get a line change after a good minute with the same skaters on the ice. After a partial clear, Todd Marchant found himself with the puck and nothing between him and Nabokov. The Ducks forward raced in on ice, but the Sharks goaltender stoned him with a glove save just inside the right post.

The Ducks would retake the lead at 9:44 of the 3rd period when Andrew Ebbett bounced a shot off Nabokov from the right corner after Teemu Selanne used his speed to push the puck deep into the zone. Ebbett took a deflection and simply put it on net from the severe angle. Nabokov couldn’t get square to the puck, allowing it to hit him in the side and bounce into the net.

Drew Miller put a dagger into the Sharks with his first career playoff goal at 13:17 after a faceoff skittered toward the Sharks net. The left wing jumped the Sharks defense and chipped a backhand shot past Nabokov for the 3-1 lead.

Jonathan Cheechoo would answer 37 seconds later, taking a Joe Thornton feed, then split two Duck defenders before beating Hiller top shelf from 4 feet out.

"We stopped skating in the last six minutes," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "Once we scored the goal we went into retreat mode, and they activate their defensemen, and throw everything they have at you."

As the Sharks began to claw back in desperation, Christian Ehrhoff sent a shot from the point that clanked off the left post. The shot was the third of the series to hit a pipe for San Jose , rather than mesh.

With 90 seconds to play in regulation, the Ducks forecheck pinned the Sharks in their own zone, preventing San Jose from getting Nabokov off the ice for the extra attacker. When San Jose finally gained control of the puck, a mere 20 seconds remained on the clock, and just like that the Sharks were in a 2-0 series hole. Home ice fumbled, like a greased pig.

"We rather have two wins rather than two losses," said Carlyle. "The bottom line is that we are playing a very, very, very good hockey club. They have had success in our building, so we know they can play at a very high level. It's going to take more than we delivered in these two games, to win the next one I'm sure."

Game Notes:

Sharks winger Torrey Mitchell skated with the team during the pre-game warm up. San Jose out shot Anaheim 17-3 in the second period and have out shot Anaheim 79-42 in the first two games of the series.


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1 2 3 T
ANA 1 0 2 3
SJ 0 1 1 2
1st period - 1, ANA, Ryan 1 (Wisniewski, Whitney), 3:45, (pp).
2nd period - 2, Clowe, SJ 1 (unassisted), 5:38.
3rd period - 3, ANA, Ebbett 1 (Christensen, Selanne), 9:44. 4, ANA, Miller 1 (R. Neidermayer, S. Neidermayer), 13:17. 5, SJ, Cheechoo 1 (Thornton, Roenick), 13:54.
1st period - Clowe, SJ (interference), 1:49; Whitney, ANA (slashing), 5:03; Nokelainen, ANA (holding), 14:19.
2nd period - Pronger, ANA (cross checking), 7:46; Pronger, ANA (cross checking), 11:20; Bench, ANA (too many men), 18:12.
3rd period - Brown, ANA (elbowing), 2:13; Blake, SJ (holding), 4:37.
Shots Saves
ANA - Hiller 44 42
SJ - Nabokov 26 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
ANA 14 3 9 26
SJ 15 17 12 44
Power Play Conversion
ANA 1 of 2
SJ 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Jonas Hiller
Bobby Ryan
Drew Miller
Referees: Lee, O'Halloran. Linesmen: Murray, Sharrers.

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