ANAHEIM – A series of defensive breakdowns and bad decisions led to a flurry of Anaheim goals in the second period that the Sharks were unable to overcome in a 5-3 loss at Honda Center on Monday night.
The Ducks broke the game open with three straight odd-man rush goals in the second period to take a 4-1 lead.
First, Bobby Ryan, Andrew Cogliano and Peter Holland executed a pretty passing play that ended with Holland depositing his second of the season at 11:09. Adam Burish failed to get the puck deep, leading to a Ducks rush the other way.
Just 34 seconds later, Dan Boyle got caught pinching, and Daniel Winnik threaded a pass through the skates of Matt Irwin to Emerson Etem. The rookie went high short side on Antti Niemi for his first NHL goal in his 19th career game.
Trailing by two goals, Todd McLellan used his timeout, but it didn’t help. The Sharks surrendered a shorthanded goal when Etem found Ryan Getzlaf on a two-on-one after Getzlaf blew past Scott Gomez at 13:55.
The Sharks didn’t quit, though, and Patrick Marleau’s goal in the final minute of the second period made it 4-2. Marleau poked the puck away from Luca Sbisa and swooped in on net for his team-leading 15th of the season.
At 6:48 of the third, Irwin’s slap shot from the point hit Getzlaf’s skate in the slot and bounced in. It was Irwin’s fifth goal, and the third straight game he’s scored.
The Sharks outshot the Ducks 16-6 in the third period but couldn’t find a fourth goal, and Francois Beauchemin’s empty-net goal with 45.9 seconds left put it away. San Jose fell to 1-6-1 in its last eight road games, and hasn’t won away from home in regulation in a month (Feb. 19 in St. Louis).
Anaheim won its 12th straight game at home, a new franchise record.
Anaheim took the early lead on a bad line change by the Sharks. Beauchemin held on to the puck on a three-on-one, and picked a perfect spot over Niemi’s shoulder to score his third of the year.
Jason Demers, who was one of the Sharks caught on the bad change, tied it in the second period. Demers’ slap shot had eyes, and beat Viktor Fasth at 19:02 on assists from TJ Galiardi and Gomez.
Marty Havlat returned after a seven-game absence with a lower body injury. Havlat, who has just a goal and an assist in his last 17 games, skated on the wing with Marleau and Joe Pavelski.
Getzlaf’s shorthanded goal was the third allowed by San Jose this season.
The Sharks finished 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Ducks, who entered the game with the best power play in the NHL, failed on their only advantage.
Niemi returned to the net after getting pulled for the second time in five games on Saturday against the Kings, and allowed four goals on 27 shots in falling to 11-7-5.
Fasth made his first start since a 29-save shutout against Calgary on March 8, missing a week with an upper body injury, and improved to 11-1-1 with 32 saves.
James Sheppard and Justin Braun came out of the lineup in favor of Galiardi and Demers. Ryane Clowe was out with a shoulder injury, while Tim Kennedy was placed on injured reserve prior to the game.
The Ducks announced during the game that Corey Perry, who was serving the third of a four-game suspension, had signed an 8-year contract extension with the club.
The Sharks will stay overnight in Anaheim and board a flight to Edmonton on Tuesday. They face the Oilers on Wednesday, continue on to Minnesota for a game on Saturday, and return to Anaheim next Monday, March 25.