Sharks Snap Ducks' 10-Game Home Winning Streak To Claim Division Crown
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Behind a strong all-around performance, the San Jose Sharks defeated the Ducks, 3-1, to capture the 2007-08 Pacific Division Championship on Friday night in Anaheim. Joe Pavelski helped set up all three Sharks goals and Brian Boucher stopped 23 of 24 shots to stamp out Anaheim. Patrick Marleau, Jeremy Roenick and Curtis Brown scored in securing the Sharks third division title.
“Our guys were focused,” said Jody Shelley after the game. “We knew what we wanted to do here tonight. We came here, we had a plan and it worked out the way we wanted. We had a great first period, we had a good second period that set us up for the third and we took advantage of that.”
Boucher got the nod in net, giving No. 1 netminder Evgeni Nabokov the night off as the Ducks went with Jonas Hiller.
Joe Thornton nearly made it 1-0 just 17 seconds into the game when he ripped a shot from the faceoff circle to Hiller’s right, but the Ducks netminder made a smooth glove save.
Like Hiller, Boucher was also tested in the early stages of the first when Ducks forwards Travis Moen hooked up Sammy Pahlsson for a one-timer, but Boucher held tight on his left post and made the save. Moen stole the puck from Brian Campbell after a hard forecheck in the Sharks zone, then fed Pahlsson in the slot for the scoring chance.
Captain Patrick Marleau broke the scoreless tie 6:38 into the first when he pulled the trigger on a pinpoint snapshot for the early 1-0 lead. Christian Ehrhoff gained entry into the Ducks zone down the left wing, then moved the puck to Joe Pavelski in between the circles. Pavelski could not cleanly handle Ehrhoff’s pass, but the puck tipped right onto Marleau’s tape as the Captain scored with a perfect shot while the two teams skated four-on-four.
With 9:24 remaining in the first, Ehrhoff was called for clipping Ducks left wing Doug Weight with a high-stick, setting up Anaheim with the first power play of the game. Sharks center Torrey Mitchell broke his stick on the ensuing faceoff in the Sharks zone, while Anaheim set up on the advantage.
Needing just 33 seconds, the Ducks answered Marleau’s early goal as Anaheim defenseman Scott Niedermayer beat Boucher to tie the game at one. Mitchell, who was caught covering Niedermayer at the point without his stick, nearly blocked the defenseman’s shot, but the puck careened off his glove and past Boucher.
San Jose killed off a second Ehrhoff penalty, this time for holding Anaheim forward Todd Bertuzzi’s stick, with 5:40 to play in the first, as the two teams headed into the locker room tied at 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.
The Sharks earned their first power play of the night at 4:45 of the second when Ducks defenseman Mathieu Schneider was called for hooking Patrick Rissmiller, but the Sharks could not convert on the man advantage.
San Jose drew a second consecutive penalty, this time on Weight for interference. While on the power play, Campbell drew another penalty on the Ducks, this time on Pahlsson for hooking. But before Anaheim could touch up for the 5-on-3, Jeremy Roenick picked a rebound out of mid-air and put it in for the 2-1 lead.
San Jose Sharks center Tomas Plihal, left, of the Czech Republic, is pursued by Anaheim Ducks right wing George Parros in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark Avery)
Pavelski and Campbell were credited with the assists and, by rule, the Sharks remained on the power play as Schneider’s penalty was cleared, then Pahlsson’s went on the board. Operating with a fresh two minutes on the power play, the Sharks threatened, but were unable to extend their lead.
A wild sequence of events happened with 2:54 to play in the second, and the result was a 3-1 Sharks lead and some four-on-four action. Brown, Pavelski and Shelley operated down low in the Ducks zone and converted to make it a two-goal margin.
Pavelski made a slick move on Schneider, reversing his motion around the net and looking for the wrap around. Hiller made the initial stop, but Brown jammed the puck home before the Ducks could clear the puck. On the play, Pavelski was credited with his third primary assist of the night.
“We know what we have to do out there,” said Shelley after the game. “When we’re out there we try to get in the offensive zone and get things going and try and make plays at the net. Fortunately, we got some chances to do that tonight. Some nights it doesn’t work out like that, but tonight we had a lot of fun out there doing that.”
Immediately following the goal, Anaheim enforcer George Parros and Shelley came together and dropped the gloves, but the linesmen intervened before things escalated and the two earned coincidental roughing minors.
San Jose closed the second period with a 3-1 lead.
Both teams played a grinding style in the opening half of the first, chipping pucks in deep and finishing their hits. A blast by Scott Niedermayer nearly cut into the Sharks lead when Bertuzzi found him with a perfect no-look feed, but Niedermayer hit the pipe high on Boucher's blocker side as it remained a 3-1 game.
Anaheim fought to the end, pulling Hiller for an extra attacker with 1:46 remaining, but Boucher and the Sharks defenders held their ground and secured the victory and the Pacific Division championship.
Both Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson and Ducks Head Coach Randy Carlyle used their timeouts in a high-paced, high-intensity second period. Wilson used his after an icing infraction with 4:08 to play in the frame, while Carlyle used his with 2:04 left following Marleau’s penalty, sending Anaheim on a four-on-three. Roenick’s second period goal, the 1,200th point of his storied career, was his 10th game-winning goal and 13th game-deciding goal this season. He leads the League in both categories.
Alexei Semenov and Tomas Plihal returned to the lineup, giving Craig Rivet and Devin Setoguchi the night off to rest some bumps and bruises.
PRACTICES CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC
Following Friday night’s Pacific Division clinching performance, the Sharks cancelled Saturday’s practice to enjoy the day off before returning home to face the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday night at HP Pavilion. Saturday was scheduled to be the team’s final open practice of the season, meaning all practices for the remainder of the NHL’s regular season will be closed to the public.
As customary, the team’s practices for the duration of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will also be closed to the public. To keep up with the team on their stretch run, be sure to Crash the Net at SJSHARKS.com.
The Sharks return home and for their final two home games of the season, hosting the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday night at HP Pavilion at San Jose. The game is set for a 5:00 PM (Pacific) start and the game will be broadcast on FSN+, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.
From the AP Wire
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- With the Pacific Division title locked up, the San Jose Sharks can rest some players before heading into the postseason.
"We wanted to get it done and over with," San Jose coach Ron Wilson said Friday night after the Sharks beat Anaheim 3-1. "Now we've got four games where some guys need a little break.
"Like Joe Thornton, Brian Campbell and people like that, you can take their minutes down and give other guys opportunities who haven't been playing much to get in there and get themselves ready for the playoffs."
Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer battles with an attacking Sharks center Jeremy Roenick in the first period on Friday, March 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark Avery)
The Sharks won their third division crown and first since the 2003-04 season. They also finished first in the 2001-02 campaign. San Jose has points in 18 straight games (16-0-2) and hasn't lost in regulation since Feb. 20.
Brian Boucher made 23 saves for the Sharks, who snapped the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks' 10-game, home-winning streak. San Jose won for the 10th time in 11 road games to improve its NHL-best mark to 27-8-4 away from home.
"Boucher played fantastic," said Sharks forward Jeremy Roenick, who scored the go-ahead goal.
Roenick said winning the division was "humongous, huge."
"Especially being in the division with the Stanley Cup champions. Obviously, it's a good feeling, but it's the first step in the process that we have in our minds right now," he said.
Anaheim, second in the division, has three games remaining and trails San Jose by eight points.
Boucher shut out the Ducks after the first period, and Roenick and Curtis Brown scored second-period goals for the Sharks.
Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller is beat by Sharks center Patrick Marleau for a goal in the first period on Friday, March 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark Avery)
"We just gave it away," Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne said. "I think they wanted it more than us. We didn't play to our level, so that's disappointing for us.
"You have to give credit to those guys. They're playing well."
Anaheim rookie Jonas Hiller stopped 24 shots as he played his fourth straight game in place of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has been sidelined by back spasms.
Roenick snapped a 1-1 tie at 11:10 of the second period, and Brown gave the Sharks a two-goal pad six minutes later.
Roenick scored his 14th goal during a power play. Parked near the left post when he got the puck, Roenick knocked it past Hiller during a delayed second penalty call on Samuel Pahlsson.
Brown picked up a loose puck just to the left of the crease and poked it past the sprawling Hiller for his third goal.
The Sharks' Patrick Marleau opened the scoring when he wristed a shot past Hiller at 6:38 of the first period, his 17th goal. Scott Niedermayer evened it at 11:09 of the period with a slap shot down the slot that sailed through a crowd in front. It was Niedermayer's eighth of the season.
Notes: Boucher has allowed just three goals in four games since being signed by the Sharks on Feb. 26. ... The Sharks have home games remaining against Phoenix and Los Angeles. They close out the regular season on the road against the Kings and Dallas Stars. ... Mathieu Schneider's assist on Niedermayer's goal was the 700th point of his career, placing him sixth on the list of U.S.-born players in NHL history. ... Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf missed his third game in a row because of a sore shoulder.
1 - 0 SJS
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 SJS
3 - 1 SJS
Holding the stick