Highlights: Early goals from Burns, Couture propel Sharks
Logan Couture (right) celebrates with Matt Nieto (83) and Patrick Marleau (12) after scoring his 100th career goal. (USATSI)
SAN JOSE – Logan Couture ended his scoring drought, Bracken Kearns recorded his first NHL goal, and the Sharks put the skids on Anaheim’s 10-game winning streak with a 3-1 win over the Ducks at SAP Center on Sunday night.
San Jose won its fourth straight game, drawing within five points of division-leading Anaheim, with two games in hand. The teams meet again at Honda Center on Tuesday.
Brent Burns, who had his third straight multiple-point game, factored in on the first two goals. The winger got open in the slot and banged a hard shot clean into the net on a pass from Joe Pavelski just 1:17 into the game. Pavelski followed up his own rebound before setting up Burns, who scored for the third straight game.
Midway through the opening frame, Burns chipped the puck into the neutral zone, where Couture gathered it in. The center blazed past Francois Beauchemin and went to his backhand for a breakaway goal, ending his career-long 11-game goalless drought.
Kearns made it 3-0, after Andrew Desjardins’ strong move to the net resulted in a loose puck in front of the crease. Kearns raced in to flip it home at 9:16 of the second period.
Patrick Maroon spoiled Antti Niemi’s shutout bid at 11:32 of the third, finding space over Niemi’s far shoulder from the faceoff circle.
San Jose, which had won its last three in a shootout, picked up its third regulation win in the last 12 games. Anaheim lost in regulation for the first time since Nov. 26 at Dallas (11-1-2).
The Sharks lost Tommy Wingels in the first period. The winger was hit by Anaheim’s Mark Fistric early in the first, returned after a brief absence to take a shift seven minutes into the frame, but did not come back for the start of the second period.
Former Sharks forward Daniel Winnik was on the receiving end of what looked to be either an elbow or butt-end from defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the second period, and left the ice with a bloody face. Less than a minute earlier, Winnik slashed Vlasic in the skates as they were lining up from one another in the faceoff circle.
There were just three minor penalties in the game. The Sharks were 0-for-2 on the power play, and Anaheim failed to convert on its only chance.
The Ducks are 0-for-21 on the power play in their last eight games.
Niemi recorded his 21st win with 30 saves. Frederik Andersen allowed three goals on 23 shots.
Andersen, a rookie, was facing the Sharks for the first time in his career. He had just one loss before Sunday against nine wins.
Kearns was recalled on Saturday, and was playing in his eighth career regular season game. The 32-year-old was leading Worcester in points (18) and assists (13) at the time of his recall. He took the place of John McCarthy.
Marty Havlat (lower body) missed his third straight game.
The Sharks close out the calendar year in Anaheim on New Year’s Eve. The Edmonton Oilers visit on Jan. 2 before a three-game road trip begins in Colorado on Jan. 4.