Kurz's Instant Replay: Ducks 2, Sharks 1

Kurz's Instant Replay: Ducks 2, Sharks 1
February 4, 2013, 9:30 pm
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Thomas Greiss saved 30 of 32 shots, but suffered his first loss of the season. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM – Saku Koivu and Sheldon Souray scored third period goals to give the Sharks their first regulation loss of the season, 2-1, at the Honda Center on Monday night.

The game-winner by Souray came with 6:39 left in regulation. His blast from the point sailed high into the far corner past Thomas Greiss, who was making his second start.

San Jose had just killed off a lengthy two-man advantage before the goal, but couldn’t gain momentum from it. The Sharks had a chance to tie it late in regulation as Bryan Allen went to the penalty box for cross-checking at 16:38, but the power play couldn’t cash it in.

The Sharks fell to 7-1-1, and lead the Ducks (6-1-1) by just two points in the Pacific Division.

The Ducks tied it at 1-1 thanks to a very fortunate bounce in the third period. Tommy Wingels attempted to reverse the behind the Sharks’ net, but it hit a rut in the boards and deflected in front of the crease. Koivu was there to whack it in while Greiss was looking the other way at 3:53.

On the other end, Viktor Fasth kept it tied with saves on Marty Havlat and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, before Anaheim had a golden opportunity to take its first lead.

A hooking penalty to Michal Handzus and delay of game on Joe Pavelski gave the Ducks 1:36 of time on the two-man advantage, but the Sharks’ penalty killers came through. In fact, the Sharks had the better of the scoring chances, including a partial breakaway by Patrick Marleau that was poked away by Fasth at the last second, and a blast by Justin Braun from the point.

The Sharks have killed off 27 straight opponent power plays, finishing 6-for-6. San Jose’s power play remained cold, though, failing to convert on six chances of its own.

Logan Couture’s first period goal held up through the first two periods. A blast from the point by Andrew Desjardins deflected off of Toni Lydman’s stick on its way to the net, where Couture gathered it in. The Sharks’ center had time to make a move to his backhand and deposited his fifth goal past Fasth at 18:08.

Stellar goaltending and clumsy power plays were the story in the second period. Greiss, making his second start, did his part when he stopped a blast by Souray on an Anaheim power play, and later dove to seal off the post on a wraparound attempt by Teemu Selanne.

Fasth made a number of strong stops of his own. The 30-year-old rookie didn’t see a second period Sharks shot until there was less than nine minutes to go, but it was a difficult one, as he got his shoulder on a redirection attempt by Marleau streaking towards the crease. Fasth also held his ground on a wrist shot from the slot by Havlat with a minute and a half to go.

The best save, though, came from an unlikely source. Jason Demers got his stick on an Andrew Cogliano shot with the Ducks forward starting at an open net with about eight minutes to go, and Demers drew an interference penalty on Koivu seconds later on the same shift.

Special teams
As strong as the penalty kill has been, going six straight without allowing a goal, the Sharks’ power play has cooled off significantly. The Sharks are just 1-for-18 in the last four games, and did not look good against the Ducks.

Ryane Clowe took over the league lead in penalty minutes, with 17 in the first period. Clowe was issued a fighting major, misconduct and minor for instigation when he dropped the gloves with Matt Beleskey after Beleskey tripped up Douglas Murray in the corner at 11:20.

In goal
It was the battle of the backups as Greiss opposed Fasth, while regular starters Antti Niemi and Jonas Hiller got the night off.

Fasth improved to 3-0 with 25 saves, while Greiss fell to 1-1-0, stopping 31 of 33 Ducks shots.

Lineup
Dan Boyle missed his second game in the last four with the flu. Boyle sat out on Jan. 29 against the Ducks, but played in the last two games. Matt Irwin replaced him after sitting as a healthy scratch on Saturday.

Wingels also returned after a one-game absence, in place of TJ Galiardi.

The Ducks were without defenseman Cam Fowler, who suffered an apparent head injury in Anaheim’s game with the Kings on Saturday.

Up next
The Sharks return home to face the Blackhawks on Tuesday, and then have off until Saturday afternoon’s game vs. Phoenix at HP Pavilion. The Sharks embark on a six-game road trip beginning on Feb. 11 at Columbus.

Sharks notes
San Jose had just seven shots midway through regulation. … The Sharks have scored first in seven of their nine games. … The Sharks fell to 5-1-0 when leading after two periods.