Highlights: Sharks can't stop Ducks in 6-3 loss
Matt Beleskey (39) celebrates after scoring a goal to give the Ducks a 4-2 lead over Sharks in the second period. (USATSI)
ANAHEIM – After two games with the Pacific Division leaders, the Sharks are right back where they started.
Anaheim scored four straight goals in beating the Sharks handily at Honda Center on Tuesday night, 6-3. The Sharks ended the Ducks’ 10-game winning streak in the first game of the home-and-home at SAP Center on Sunday, but Anaheim improved to a near perfect 15-0-2 on home ice.
The Ducks (29-8-5, 63 points) again lead the second-place Sharks (25-9-6, 56 points) by seven points for the division lead. San Jose has two games in hand.
The key moment came shortly after the Ducks took a 3-2 lead on Nick Bonino’s power play goal at 14:59 of the second period.
A strange carom off of the glass resulted in a loose puck in the circle, where Joe Thornton was skating into the offensive zone. Staring at an open net with Jonas Hiller out of position, Thornton’s shot was knocked away by a diving Ben Lovejoy, to keep the Ducks’ lead intact.
Moments later, Andrew Desjardins’ lackadaisical play with the puck resulted in a turnover to Bonino behind the net, and Matt Beleskey scored at 18:30 for a backbreaking marker that gave Anaheim a 4-2 lead at the break.
Ryan Getzlaf put the game out of reach early in the third. The Ducks’ captain, from the circle, picked the far top corner on a partial breakaway at 1:14 after Thornton’s turnover led to the rush.
Alex Stalock replaced Antti Niemi after the Getzlaf goal, and Stlaock was quickly welcomed to the game with a two-on-none shorthanded rush. The goalie did the splits in stopping Saku Koivu’s attempt, but Andrew Cogliano banged in the loose puck to make it 6-2 at 2:25 of the final frame.
Bracken Kearns’ power play goal, deflecting a Matt Irwin shot, capped the scoring at 3:16 of the third. The Sharks couldn’t get any closer.
San Jose saw its four-game winning streak end, while the Ducks are now 12-1-2 in their last 15.
The Sharks trailed 1-0 after the first, but tied it on Dan Boyle’s power play goal just 35 seconds into the second.
Anaheim pushed hard after that, though, and retook the lead at the 11-minute mark. Francois Beauchemin’s rebound goal came on what was the eighth straight shot for the Ducks, capping a dominant few minutes.
Again, the Sharks replied. Logan Couture broke through and hit the crossbar with his attempt, and the puck hit the back of Hiller’s pads and trickled in at 12:35 to make it 2-2. Couture blew a giant New Year’s Eve kiss to the home crowd, but the Sharks couldn’t keep the momentum. A James Sheppard high-sticking minor led to Bonino’s power play goal two and a half minutes later.
The Sharks fell to 2-1 against the Ducks this season. Each team has one home game remaining in the season series.
The Sharks, 2-for-5 on the power play, reunited their top power play unit of Boyle, Thornton, Couture, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski.
Cogliano’s goal was just the second shorthanded goal the Sharks have surrendered this season. Anaheim was 1-for-3 with a man advantage.
Niemi was strong early in the game, making one of his best saves of the season on Corey Perry’s wrist shot from the slot, gloving the attempt. It got worse from there, as he allowed five goals on 34 shots in getting pulled for the third time.
Stalock allowed only Cogliano’s goal on just three Ducks shots.
Hiller made 33 saves for his 18th win.
Tommy Wingels missed his first game this season after going headfirst into the boards on Sunday against Anaheim early in the first period. Freddie Hamilton was recalled for the third time, and played in his eighth game.
The Ducks’ Dustin Penner was a healthy scratch. Jacob Silvferberg replaced him on the top line with Getzlaf and Perry.
Cogliano became the fifth player in NHL history to play 500 straight games to start his career.
The Edmonton Oilers visit the SAP Center on Jan. 2 before a three-game road trip begins in Colorado on Jan. 4.