In the season series of six games between Anaheim and San Jose, the Ducks took five of them, losing only one to their Pacific Division rival. If only they could have played like that against more teams.
If only. The Ducks were officially mathematically eliminated from the playoffs during the game. Their role now is one of spoiler.
A 3-1 defeat of the Sharks certainly spoiled San Jose's hopes for maintaining a narrow division lead over Dallas, Los Angeles and Phoenix.
"To do it against a division rival and maybe snuff out one of their last chances to get in is a very good feeling," said Bobby Ryan, who put the Ducks on the board at 9:22 of the middle period.
The Ducks did not hold on to the lead for very long. Francois Beauchemin, getting into the bakery business with frequent turnovers, gave away a second goal in as many games. His turnover led to Ryan Clowe's goal that tied up the game :52 seconds later. It was the only goal that San Jose would get behind Jonas Hiller, though.
Joe Pavelski certainly tried to change that. Pavelski, who earned the third star of the game for his efforts, had five good quality shots on goal. Hiller denied them all, to Pavelski's chagrin.
"We have a lot to lose and it doesn't matter if they have everything to lose or nothing to lose," Pavelski commented. "We should win that game. It's disappointing. It's a setback, but we want to take a step forward and get where we were. We got to keep moving forward and we missed a chance."
Teemu Selanne does not miss many of his chances. He put Anaheim ahead at 5:22 of the third period and the game winning goal was his 106th of his career. Only five players have more game winners than Selanne.
Selanne's goal came shortly after finding out that Dallas had won their game, thereby officially eliminating the Ducks from the playoffs.
The Sharks kept coming, but Anaheim would not quit. In a weird turn of events, a third goal was awarded to Corey Perry, who was aiming at the empty net. Dan Boyle was sliding to the net to defend and knocked the net off its moorings in the process as Perry was shooting. The goal was given to Perry, but then there was a long, strange review by Toronto.
In the end, the goal was deemed good, even though it seemed like it should not have counted. Perhaps karmic justice for the no goal call on Sunday against Boston? The Ducks would have preferred to have that one, but they would equally take this one.
3-1 Ducks. Adios Anaheim. Adios Sharks.
The Ducks have another two days off before heading to Phoenix on Saturday. They return home for a final home game on Sunday against Edmonton. Will it be Selanne's last game in front of an Anaheim crowd? Let's hope not.