Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Anaheim Ducks Finish Off Sharks, Clinch Pacific Division


Last year at this time, Patrick Maroon and John Gibson were spectators across the country in Norfolk.

This year, they were key in helping the Anaheim Ducks win their second consecutive Pacific Division title.

Maroon scored twice and Gibson stopped 36 of 38 shots as the Ducks took the Pacific Division once again in a 5-2 win over the visiting San Jose Sharks Wednesday night at Honda Center.

With the win, the Ducks also set a franchise record for points in a season and have moved into first place in the Western Conference.

After Logan Couture tied the game at two midway through the second period, Maroon put the Ducks back on top 3-2 with his second marker of the night as his slap shot past Sharks’ starting netminder Antti Niemi would result in Niemi being yanked in favor of Alex Stalock.

Niemi finished with 16 saves on 19 shots.

New first-liner Matt Beleskey would give the Ducks an insurance goal late in the second as a nifty toe-drag move created plenty of room to launch a wrist shot past Stalock.

Beleskey’s eight of the season would give Anaheim plenty of cushion as the Ducks buckled down defensively to close out the Sharks.

Jakob Silfverberg would net an empty-netter to silence any hope of a San Jose comeback.

As the Ducks and Sharks entered a pivotal second period knotted at one, Maroon would give the Ducks a brief 2-1 lead with his first tally of the game. After an offensive zone face-off win, Teemu Selanne drifted a pass toward the net, but it was tipped wide which allowed Maroon to collect on one end and slip it past Niemi on the other end.

Maroon’s goal was the second in a row for Anaheim as Corey Perry flew in and slid a backhand through the pads of Niemi with 2.1 seconds left in the first period to give the Ducks a boost before intermission.

Jason Demers put San Jose on the board first after Anaheim’s clearing attempt took a funky bounce off the boards. Joe Pavelski fed the loose puck to Demers, who fired a wrist shot past Gibson.

The early goal didn’t rattle Gibson as he stood tall throughout the contest as he notched his second career win in as many games.

The Ducks will travel to the Staples Center on Saturday to take on the Los Angeles Kings as Anaheim heads into the final weekend of the season with the title of Pacific Division champs for the second straight year.

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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Pacific Division Sharks

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