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Epic Fail
Presidents Trophy winners go down in flames
4/27/09 - By Mike Lee -

With the ghosts of playoff failures past circling the rafters of the Honda Center, the Sharks nightmare series against the Anaheim Ducks came to an uninspired end on Monday night as the home team dispatched the underachieving visitors in a 4-1 laugher. Anaheim employed a familiar game plan that sat back and let the Sharks try and scratch out goals with long range shots that consistently proved ineffective, then pounced by sending people to the net and converting big goals when it mattered most. The great disappearing act of 2009, marks what can arguably be called the biggest disappointment in franchise history for the Sharks.

A game removed from what appeared to be a possible turning point for San Jose's biggest stars, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov were non-factors in the do-or-die game for the Sharks. Thornton and Marleau combined for 2 shots on goal in a contest that needed them to be on top of their game if the Sharks were going to live another day.

That didn't happen, and the Sharks are done.

Opposite the Sharks, Anaheim's big guns came to play and they wouldn't disappoint the 17,174 paid. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne combined for 3 goals and an assist to lead the Ducks, who head to Detroit for a second round date with the Red Wings.

For San Jose, only more questions about what it will take to actually contend for a championship.

You couldn't ask for a more entertaining way to start a playoff hockey game. Thornton and Getzlaf both tried making a statement early by dropping the gloves at the opening faceoff, in a spirited exchange that was a carry over from their jawing in Game 5.

Rob Neidermayer would follow that up a minute later by extending a knee that knocked over Jeremy Roenick, earning the Anaheim forward a trip to the box for tripping. Roenick took exception to the play, giving Neidermayer an earful as the Duck sat in what has become Anaheim 's auxiliary bench.

Anaheim was intent on playing a physical game to get the Sharks off theirs, and it worked.

Perry would land a vicious elbow to the head of Jonathan Cheechoo after the Sharks forward fell to his knees on a play behind the Ducks net, but as has become the Sharks Achilles heel, the power play failed to take advantage.

Power play failures were the theme of the series for San Jose, even knowing that the Ducks would offer up more than their share of penalties.

James Wisniewski gave the Sharks a third straight man-advantage at 9:35 after taking a slashing penalty. Third time was a charm for San Jose as Milan Michalek scored his first goal of the playoffs off a deflection in front of the net. Rob Blake sent a shot in on goal from the right point that deflected off Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller's pad, kicking out into the slot, where Michalek was roaming.

The Ducks would resort to the rough stuff on the next shift, with George Parros cross checking Murray in front of the net. Dan Boyle took responded by pouncing on Parros. San Jose would somehow get the short end of the stick when the on-ice officials sent Boyle, Travis Moen and Douglas Murray to the box for roughing, while Anaheim would only have Parros and Ryan Whitney sent off.

Teemu Selanne would hook Rob Blake 22 seconds into the Anaheim power play to even things up, but Patrick Marleau would follow that with his own hooking penalty. The Ducks would knot things up on the ensuing 4-on-3, when Corey Perry batted a Ryan Getzlaf deflection out of the air in front of Evgeni Nabokov.

When all the smoke cleared, the Sharks were still a man down, having to kill the remainder of Marleau's penalty. San Jose weathered the storm and the period would end tied 1-1.

The Ducks came out flying in the 2nd period, out-shooting San Jose 9-3 through the first 10 minutes. Nabokov was forced to make several big saves while the Ducks peppered the Sharks netminder with a flurry of chances. San Jose's defense couldn't contain the onslaught of pressure being thrown in Nabokov's vicinity.

The San Jose power play was given another chance midway through the period, when Francois Beauchemin was whistled for interference. The Sharks reverted to their perimeter game, wasting another golden opportunity to grab control of the game. Anaheim would seize control of the game at that point.

Torrey Mitchell would take a hooking penalty at 12:54 and the wheels would fall off the Sharks playoff bus. Teemu Selanne would score his first goal of the series on the ensuing power play, by driving the net and bouncing a shot off Christian Ehrhoff's skate. The puck slipped past Nabokov, whose dismal 2.82 goals against average in the series was one of the glaring holes in San Jose's game.

The Ducks would turn up the heat and bag another goal 43 seconds later. Beauchemin would fire a shot from the point that deflected off Boyle's stick, roofing off the top right off the San Jose net. The shot cracked Boyle's stick, and the defenseman would finish it off in frustration, splintering it while cringing at the gift he had given the Ducks.

The period would end with a Boyle boarding penalty that turned into a series of scrums, including a fight between Whitney and Joe Pavelski. The Sharks center got the best of Whitney, but it was little consolation for poor period his teammates turned in.

San Jose had no answers in the final period of their season. The Sharks did little to pressure Hiller, and the Ducks roamed the ice pushing back what little the Sharks offense could muster.

Getzlaf would deliver a parting shot with his 2nd goal of the series with just under 3 minutes to play. Taking a feed from Rob Neidermayer in the slot, the centerman cranked a shot past Nabokov, twisting the dagger a little deeper in the Sharks playoff reputation.

Game Notes:

Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic escaped much of the criticism for the Sharks playoff failure, but he finished the series with a team low -6 plus-minus. Marleau finished the series with a total of 12 shots in the 6 games played.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 0 0 1
ANA 1 2 1 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Michalek 1 (Blake, Boyle), 10:19, (pp). 2, ANA, Perry 3 (Getzlaf, Pronger), 12:33, (pp).
2nd period - 3, ANA, Selanne 1 (Pronger, S. Neidermayer), 13:03, (pp). 4, ANA, Beauchmin 1 (Carter, Brown), 13:46.
3rd period - 5, ANA, Getzlaf 2 (R Neidermayer, Miller), 17:04
1st period - Thornton, SJ (fighting major), 0:02; Getzlaf, ANA (fighting major), 0:02; R. Neidermayer, ANA (tripping), 1:11; Perry, ANA (elbowing), 6:25; Wisniewski, ANA (slashing), 9:35; Boyle, SJ (roughing), 10:34; Moen, SJ (roughing), 10:34; Murray, SJ (roughing), 10:34; Parros, ANA (roughing), 10:34; Whitney, ANA (roughing), 10:34; Selanne, ANA (hooking), 10:56; Marleau, SJ (hooking), 12:19.
2nd period - Beauchemin, ANA (interference), 10:16; Mitchell, SJ (hooking), 12:54; Boyle, SJ (boarding), 20:00; Boyle, SJ (roughing), 20:00; Pavelski, SJ (fighting major), 20:00; Getzlaf, ANA (roughing), 20:00; Whitney, ANA (fighting major), 20:00.
3rd period - Michalek, SJ (roughing), 3:47; Goc, SJ (roughing), 3:47; R. Neidermayer, ANA (roughing), 3:47; Wisniewski, ANA (roughing), 3:47; Ehrhoff, SJ (tripping), 19:58.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 32 28
ANA - Hiller 37 36
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 18 8 11 37
ANA 9 15 8 32
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
ANA 2 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Ryan Getzlaf
Scott Neidermayer
Corey Perry
Referees: Furlatt, McCauley. Linesmen: Devorski, Cameron.

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