The Ducks wanted nothing more than to spoil San Jose's perfect record. No sense letting their Pacific Division rival keep rolling along to start their season. Anaheim came close, but in the end, the Sharks came back and got the 3-2 win in a shootout and the Ducks merely got a point for their efforts.
Going into the game, the Ducks knew they would have to be at their best and be disciplined, and they certainly gave it their all.
Anaheim dominated the first period, outshooting the Sharks 13-4. Despite those numbers, the one that counted was the score - 1-0 San Jose. Joe Pavelski got the puck behind Jonas Hiller at 9:46, keeping San Jose's top line hot.
In the middle period, San Jose took a couple of penalties, including too many men on the ice, and the Ducks took some momentum to even up the game. Francois Beauchemin got his first of the year at 8:40 to tie up the game. It was just after one of the penalties had expired. Matt Beleskey followed it up less than a minute later at 9:39 to give Anaheim the lead.
The Ducks held on to that lead until late in the third period when Logan Couture managed to get one behind Hiller at 17:15.
“I had no idea where it went,” said Hiller about the puck. “I thought it went over me or whatever. I just got a piece with my glove but, yeah, I was kind of surprised [the puck] went down. I don’t even know if it was touched or not. I felt that it hit me and then I was looking for the rebound. I guess those things happen.”
Those kinds of things are what take you into overtime and then to a shootout. Antti Niemi did his job, stopping all three Ducks shots, although Teemu Selanne had a great chance that went off the crossbar.
Michal Handzus was the only Shark to put one past Hiller. It was enough for the Sharks to win the game and remain perfect in the standings (along with the Chicago Blackhawks.)
"There's games that you deserve to win and you won't win them," reflected Beauchemin. "And then there's games that you will not play your best and win them. I think it all adds up at the end of the year and it all evens out. I think we've got to be proud of the way we played tonight. We outplayed them."
The Ducks will need to take that kind of effort into the weekend when they face Minnesota on Friday night at home and the Kings on Saturday. They won't have long to face the Sharks again, as San Jose will also be coming to town next Monday.
In other notes: Emerson Etem, the 20 year old Long Beach native who was drafted in the first round in 2010, made his debut with the Ducks on the fourth line. He played with two other first round picks in Rickard Rakell (2011) and Kyle Palmieri (2009). He saw 7:51 of playing time and registered a shot on goal.