Sharks edge Ducks, start road trip with 4-3 win


Sharks edge Ducks, start road trip with 4-3 win


ANAHEIM (AP) One night after the San Jose Sharks rallied from an early three-goal deficit, they came agonizingly close to blowing a three-goal lead of their own.Joe Thornton knows that's just the way it's going to be down the stretch while San Jose and Anaheim both look to carve out playoff berths in the tight Western Conference.
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Dany Heatley scored 14 seconds in, Ryane Clowe had a goal and an assist, and the Sharks hung on to beat the Ducks 4-3 Wednesday night for their second straight win after the All-Star break.Ben Eager scored his first goal with his new team and Antti Niemi made 27 saves one night after getting pulled for the Sharks, who moved even with Anaheim in the Western Conference standings. Defenseman Jason Demers even scored a rare goal during the Sharks' three-goal first period, but San Jose finished the game simply surviving the Ducks' late surge."We know there are going to be close, wild games," said Thornton, who assisted on Heatley's goal on the opening shift. "You hope there's not too many three-point games to keep everybody bunched up. We'd like to win them outright, the way we did the last two nights."After the Sharks rallied from an early 3-0 deficit for a 5-3 win over Phoenix on Tuesday night in San Jose, the Sharks went ahead 3-0 against Anaheim in the first 11:15. The Ducks got to 4-3 early in the third period and had several late scoring chances, but Niemi made just enough big saves.
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"I really liked our start," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We thought having played last night, we might have our legs underneath us while they were trying to find theirs, and that's what happened. It wasn't going to be easy tonight. We were fortunate to get out to the good early lead."San Jose has won six of seven during the best stretch of the defending Pacific Division champions' up-and-down season, but just five points separate fourth place and 12th in the West standings.
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Anaheim climbed back into the playoff picture by winning eight of 11 during January, improbably thriving while captain Ryan Getzlaf is out with broken bones in his face. But Jonas Hiller made an ugly return from his first All-Star game for Anaheim, getting pulled after giving up three goals on 10 shots. The Ducks lost for the fourth time in 14 games."You can't win a lot of games when you're down 3-0 within the first 10-12 minutes," said rookie defenseman Cam Fowler, who scored a power-play goal in his third straight game. "I'm not sure if we were a little rusty after the break, but there are no excuses. We can't have a start like that. Our guys did a good job of battling back, but it just wasn't enough."Joffrey Lupul and Bobby Ryan also scored, and All-Star Corey Perry had two assists as the Ducks' four-game home winning streak ended. Curtis McElhinney made 17 saves and picked up an assist in relief of Hiller for Anaheim, which will play six of its next seven on the road.But the Swiss goalie's struggles against San Jose put the Ducks in a deep early hole. Hiller is 4-9 in his career against the Sharks, and Heatley scored his 19th goal on the Sharks' opening shift."The first shift was the worst-case scenario," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "Later in the game, we got it going, but we still weren't sharp with some of the decisions with the puck. We haven't played that type of hockey in a long time."Eager followed several minutes later with his first goal since Nov. 19, when he played for Atlanta. Demers then capitalized on an assist from Clowe, chasing Hiller with his second goal in 46 games this season.Lupul scored the Ducks' first goal early in the second period, but Clowe converted a long rebound on a power play for his 14th goal.Fowler answered with a power-play goal on another rebound with 2:08 left in the second period. Ryan trimmed the Sharks' lead to one goal with 14:24 to play, putting a wrist shot through traffic behind Niemi for his eighth goal in 10 games."We got off our forecheck and kind of sat back and let them come at us," Heatley said. "We had to come back after that tough start yesterday and do things a little different this time, and it was the opposite game."Notes: Sharks C Logan Couture missed his second straight game with an apparent case of the flu. San Jose's top goal-scorer is among the favorites for the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. ... Fowler has scored a power play goal in three straight games. ... Getzlaf is expected back next week during the Ducks' road trip through Western Canada. ... The Ducks wore their third jerseys.
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Barracuda power play leads the way in Game 2 win over Grand Rapids


Barracuda power play leads the way in Game 2 win over Grand Rapids

SAN JOSE – The Barracuda struck for three power play goals, including the game-winner in the second period by Joakim Ryan, in overcoming the Grand Rapids Griffins at SAP Center on Sunday night, 4-2.

San Jose’s victory evens the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series at one game apiece.

Grand Rapids erased a 2-0 hole to tie the game in the middle frame, but less than a minute after Matt Ford knotted the score at 2-2 with a rocket from the circle on a Griffins power play, Ryan’s blast from just inside the blue line at 15:28 staked the Barracuda a lead they would keep for the rest of the night. 

The Barracuda finished 3-for-5 on the power play, after going 0-for-6 in a Game 1 loss on Saturday.

“The power play was a lot better tonight,” Ryan said. “We got set up more. We were able to get shots through from the point.”

One of those shots came early, when defenseman Julius Berman beat goalie Jared Coreau from long range just 3:35 into the game with San Jose on a man advantage. Later in the first, on another power play, Ryan Carpenter found open ice in the slot and redirected a Tim Heed pass at 10:44 for his team-leading eighth of the playoffs.

“Coming out, we wanted to get the first goal tonight,” Carpenter said. “For Bergman to get that first goal was huge for us.”

Ryan and Carpenter both attributed the power play success to winning faceoffs, which is something coach Roy Sommer wanted the club to focus on after it dropped the series opener, 3-1.

Winning faceoffs often is an indication of a team’s compete level, and that, too, was lacking for the Barracuda in an opener in which Sommer said his team played “dumb and slow.” 

Sunday was a much better performance.

“Whenever we’ve had a bad start, or a bad game, the next day these guys have responded,” said Sommer, whose club is the top seed in the Western Conference. “They’ve done it all year.”

The series now shifts to Grand Rapids for the next three games, with Game 3 going Wednesday. The primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, the Griffins posted a 25-11-2 record in their own building in the regular season.

The Barracuda, though, should be a confident group on the road. Against San Diego in the second round, San Jose won all three games in Southern California after splitting the first two at home.

“It’s going to be a hell of a series,” Sommer said. “It’s probably going to go the duration, I imagine. Both teams are kind of feeling each other out and kind of have a pretty good idea of what the other guys are doing now.”

Ryan said: “Honestly, I think they are the team in the league that plays the most like us. I felt like last night they did a better job of taking the game to us. I thought we came out better tonight, and we battled harder, competed more, won more pucks. They’re a really good team, it’s going to be a battle the rest of the series, for sure. They’re not going to lay down.”

Barclay Goodrow’s empty netter with 1:06 left in regulation was the only goal in the third period.

The Barracuda outshot the Griffins, 40-35, including a 20-11 advantage in the first period.

No sweep here: Without Isaiah Thomas, Celtics stun Cavs in Game 3

No sweep here: Without Isaiah Thomas, Celtics stun Cavs in Game 3


CLEVELAND — Avery Bradley's 3-pointer dropped in with less than a second left and the Boston Celtics, blown out in the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals and playing without star Isaiah Thomas, stunned the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-108 on Sunday night in Game 3 to end the champions' 13-game postseason winning streak.

Bradley's shot from the left wing bounced on the rim four times before going down. It capped a furious comeback by the Celtics, who trailed by 21 in the third quarter before rallying to tighten up a series that appeared to be over.

Marcus Smart scored 27 points, and Bradley had 20 for the Celtics. They were given little chance after losing by 44 in Game 2 and then losing Thomas for the rest of the postseason because of a hip injury.

Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, and Kevin Love 28 for Cleveland. The Cavaliers dropped to 10-1 in the postseason with their first loss since Game 4 of last year's Finals.