Ducks dent Sharks playoff hopes with 5-3 win
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)
Bobby Ryan had a goal and two assists and Jeff Deslauriers won in his first game in more than two months as the Anaheim Ducks dealt a blow to San Jose's playoff hopes with a 5-3 victory over the Sharks on Monday night.
San Jose entered the night in ninth place in the Western Conference but could have moved into third position by taking the Pacific Division lead with a win. Their chances looked good against a struggling Ducks team on the back end of back-to-backs starting a goalie who hadn't played an NHL game since Jan. 10.
The Sharks struck first but twice allowed Anaheim to score the shift after a San Jose goal to lose for the third time in three home games this season against the Ducks. The Sharks have little margin for error if they want to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
San Jose is one point behind division leaders Dallas and Phoenix, with a game in hand over the Coyotes, and a point behind Colorado as well with two games in hand. The Avalanche and Coyotes are tied for seventh in the conference.
Nate Guenin's big shot from the point midway through the period made it 4-2 and was his first goal since the season opener against Buffalo in Finland, ending Antti Niemi's night with four goals on 26 shots.
The Sharks got right back into the game when Pavelski tipped Brent Burns' point shot past Deslauriers for his career-high 26th goal of the season.
The good feeling lasted only 33 seconds as Palmieri knocked his own rebound past Thomas Greiss from a bad angle to restore the two-goal advantage heading into the third.
The Sharks put some pressure on Deslauriers in the third but couldn't get one past him as he finished with 27 saves.
Deslauriers got just his second start of the year for Anaheim as coach Bruce Boudreau gave Jonas Hiller the day off after starting a club-record 32 games in a row. Deslauriers stopped 26 of 28 shots in a 5-2 win over Dallas on Jan. 10, but had not played since being called up from the minors on Feb. 14.
The teams alternated goals in a wide-open first period that ended with the score tied at 2. The Ducks answered Havlat's early power-play goal on the next shift when Ryan knocked in a rebound of Palmieri's shot after Jason Demers struggled to play a bouncing puck for San Jose.
Havlat, who has sparked the Sharks since returning last week after missing 39 games with a torn left hamstring, then set up Clowe in the slot for an easy one-timer that made it 2-1. But Burns took a bad interference penalty leading to Beauchemin equalizer with 2:08 left in the period.
Notes: Hiller's streak of games started was the longest for any goalie since Niemi started 34 straight last year for the Sharks. ... Clowe had his second three-point game of the season, also recording three assists in a loss at Phoenix on Feb. 4. ... Anaheim D Toni Lydman missed his second straight game for Nashville with an upper-body injury.