Fans who went to the HP Pavilion on Friday night for a hockey game between the Sharks and the Ducks got a lot of Fight Night instead. Somewhere amongst the half dozen fights, five of them occurring in the first period alone, was plenty of scoring as the Anaheim defeated the San Jose, 5-4, for the second time in a row in preseason.
This coming from a team who could not get pay to get a win in the regular season against the Sharks last year.
While pre-season is usually a time to feel things out and take a look at your prospects, this game had all the feel of a final regular season division match up, where all the bad blood from the previous five games boils over onto the ice. 144 penalty minutes, including three game misconducts, was the final tally when the horn sounded.
In between, the Ducks had plenty of work on specialty teams. The Ducks had 10 power play opportunities, while spending 9 times on the penalty kill. Anaheim came out winning both battles by killing every penalty and scoring on four of the power plays, two of them 5 on 3 chances.
Corey Perry had three of the power play goals for a hat trick and Jake Newton chipped in the other one. Ryan Getzlaf assisted on each one.
The Ducks broke out with a two goal lead, but the Sharks kept things close, either tied or within one goal for the remainder of the game. Dan Sexton got the only even strength tally for Anaheim, breaking the 4-4 tie with exactly five minutes left on the clock.
Timo Pielmeier, who split goaltending duties with Curtis McIlhenny, held firm in the net to prevent the Sharks from tying up the game once more. As they were on Wednesday evening, the Ducks were grossly outshot, 44-22, but the number that mattered was the one reflecting the goals.
The Ducks are now 2-1 in the pre-season. A healthy Getzlaf still has amazing chemistry with Perry. The goaltenders are all holding their own. Certainly it's a good start and a positive way to be moving forward to the regular season.
Anaheim now gets to see if they can make it 3-1 by playing against Vancouver on Saturday evening. Hopefully the momentum will continue forward.