After getting off to a slow start, the Ducks were able to turn things around after Corey Perry tied the game with a second period goal. The Ducks, playing with almost a complete NHL roster, were able to take control of the game after goals by Teemu Selanne and James Wisniewski in the third period.
The Ducks are falling into a dangerous trend of slow starts but are getting fortunate in being able to come from behind for victories. Tonight’s game was the same, with a Mike Brown fight being the only noteworthy Ducks action of the first period. Scott Nichol was given an instigator and 10-minute misconduct to go along with the five-minute major for initiating the fight with Brown. The only goal scoring of the period came on a powerplay goal from Benn Ferriero with just one second remaining in the first period.
The second period started similarly to the first, and there was even less action until Perry’s goal with just under four minutes left in the period. Bobby Ryan and Perry teamed up to steal the puck from a Sharks defenceman. Perry then came around the net from Evgeni Nabokov’s left, made a quick move, and backhanded the puck high past the goalie.
The Ducks then went on the powerplay shortly after the goal and gained momentum going into the third period. The Ducks continued to generate chances before Brown “tripped” Nabokov for a minor penalty. Replays showed Nabokov actually slipped on a banana peel. Or he was shot by a sniper. Take your pick. Referees must have realized it was a bad call because the Sharks’ Devin Setoguchi was given a similarly phantom holding-the-stick call about a minute later.
That call would eventually benefit the Ducks, as Selanne was able to score a powerplay goal. Defenceman Ryan Whitney led a breakout with a crisp pass to Saku Koivu who gave the puck to a streaking Selanne on the right side. Selanne raced across the blueline before unleashing a monster of a slap shot at the top of the right circle, beating Nabokov high to the stick side.
About four minutes later on a penalty kill, Petteri Nokelainen and Wisniewski found themselves with a two-on-one opportunity. Nokelainen raced in from the right side and slid a quick pass over to Wisniewski who hammered a one-timer past a helpless Nabokov. Andrew Ebbett started the play and stayed high on the play, but was never needed as Wisniewski made a perfect shot.
The Ducks were in cruise control when Jaime McGinn had a collision with Perry near center ice. Ryan didn’t like what he saw and challenged McGinn to a fight, something that’s very unusual for the second-year winger. McGinn was pounding away at Ryan, although replays showed no punches made solid contact, before Ryan came back with a few uppercuts and eventually toppled over McGinn to the roar of the crowd at Honda Center. Each player was given five minutes for fighting.
San Jose’s second goal came very late in the third when Ducks goalie J.S. Giguere tried to clear the puck around the boards. The puck was cut off by Ferriero who then rifled the puck to a wide open Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Vlasic then snapped the puck by Giguere, who was still scrambling to get back to the net after giving the puck up behind the goal.
That was Giguere’s only mistake of the game, though, as this was his best performance of the preseason. Giguere came up with big stops on Joe Thornton and newly acquired Dany Heatley, who didn’t look comfortable in his second game with the Sharks. Giguere was named the first star of the game.
To be fair to the Sharks, they did not play a lineup that was even close to what the opening-day roster will look like. Missing from tonight’s game were regulars Patrick Marleau, Ryan Clowe, Dan Boyle, and Rob Blake. The Ducks were without goalie Jonas Hiller and were again without the services of injured superstar Ryan Getzlaf.
The Ducks will now have two days off before taking on the Vancouver Canucks in Canada on Thursday night. The Ducks will then travel to San Jose to take on the same Sharks again on Friday. The team will complete their preseason schedule with a home game at Honda Center against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday evening.