(San Jose, CA) — The San Jose Sharks streak of good play continued another night as the Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 at HP Pavilion. Rob Blake and Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored for the Sharks and Evgeni Nabokov was again sharp in net with 26 saves to lead the Sharks to their fourth straight win. Patrick Marleau added an empty net goal and two assists on the evening.
“Blake and Vlasic were partners until tonight, then we broke them up and they both scored,” Coach Todd McLellan said. “I consider that secondary scoring. We got a couple from the defensemen which I don’t think is odd, but to have the only two come from defensemen is important.”
The defensive pairings were changed because Dan Boyle did not suit up. He was a scratch due to an upper body injury and is listed as day to day. It was a major concern for the Sharks coming into the game to see how the team would respond without their best defensive player.
Overall the coach was pleased with the win but saw things the Sharks need to work on. “I didn’t think we had a lot of polish in our game. A lot of our passes and timing were off. We had a three-on-one and we went offside. Our power play was a little ragged,” McLellan said. “We have to freshen up for our next test on Saturday.”
Matt Beleskey would tally the only goal for the Ducks to keep the game close and Jonas Hiller played well again with 20 saves.
The key stat for the Sharks again was their penalty kill. The Ducks were 0-5 on the power play and this included an extra man advantage in the closing minutes of the game. The Sharks have now killed 29 consecutive power plays.
The game certainly started out a bit chippy. Joe Thornton got a interference penalty call on him just ten seconds into the game. Matt Beleskey erased that power play by taking a slashing penalty 1:02 into the game.
Then just under four minutes into the game, Ryan Clowe and tough man George Parros dropped gloves. Clowe clearly got the better of the fight landing several more punches than Parros.
Midway through the first period Brad Staubitz and Nick Boynton dropped the gloves. This was short and sweet with both players landing a number of roundhouse punches before going to the ice. Boynton had the early advantage but Staubitz finished strong earning a draw if not the win.
Troy Bodie ended the first period getting a double minor for high sticking. The four minute penalty went into the second period. As the seconds ran out on the power play, the Sharks scored. Patrick Marleau won a faceoff and kicked the puck back to Marc-Edouard Vlasic near the blue line. Vlasic wristed a shot through traffic that beat Hiller glove side high.
The Sharks would make it 2-0 with 3:26 left in the second period. As Patrick Marleau brought it over the blue line he passed it to Thornton who stopped right past the blue line against the boards. He fired a pass to a streaking Blake who skated straight down the middle of the ice and got behind the Ducks defense. The pass was right on Blake’s stick who deflected the puck more than anything right past a surprised Hiller.
The Ducks would get on the board 1:15 into the final period. Beleskey go the goal after some nice work by Kyle Chipchura. Chipchura skated the puck through the defense and across the net. As the defense took him out of the play he drop passed the puck back to a waiting Beleskey who rifled a shot that beat Nabokov glove side high.
Both teams would have opportunities in the rest of the way. Both teams played well on defense. And both goalies made great saves. In the end it was Marleau scoring the empty net with 5.5 seconds left that secured the win for the Sharks. It was Marleau’s 34th goal of the year.
The Sharks win gives them an NHL best 76 points. They host Buffalo on Saturday.
**Rob Blake’s second period goal pulled him into a tie for 10th on the all-time list for goals by an NHL defenseman with Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson (237). Blake extended his point streak to three games (2-2=4).
**Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored his first goal since November 1, 2009 (36 games). It was his first PPG of the year.
**Patrick Marleau notched his 35th goal extending his NHL lead. He also added two assists extending his point streak to four games (4-4=8).
**Joe Thornton notched two assists, extending his NHL-leading total to 53.
**Jason Demers was recalled from Worcester to replace Dan Boyle in the lineup.