After whooping on the Kings on Monday night, the San Jose Sharks hopped on a bus, headed down the 5 Freeway, and sauntered into the Honda Center fresh off being crowned the Pacific Division title holders. Perhaps a bit overconfident from reigning over their division foes, or tired from scoring six goals on the Kings earlier that week, the Sharks were not their normal offensive selves in a game in which the tables were turned against the Ducks.
The Ducks went into tonight’s game 8th in the Western Conference, having been moved down a spot by the Blackhawks’ last second victory over the Red Wings earlier today. With only five points separating the numbers 5-10 spots in the West, every game counts in the push for the playoffs. The Ducks would need to take two of these last three games in regulation in order to guarantee themselves a playoff spot.
Tonight’s game started off similar to Saturday night’s loss against the Sharks, with the Ducks going up 2-0 in the first period. The difference maker tonight, however, was Corey Perry. Perry, who had zero shots on goal in Saturday night’s game, scored his 48th goal off netminder, Niittymaki, who hadn’t had a start in between the pipes in almost two and a half months. Perry also assisted on rookie, Cam Fowler’s, PPG with two minutes remaining in the first period from a Devin Setoguichi roughing penalty.
Corey Perry continued where he left off in the first, scoring a one legged, off-balanced 49th goal of the season on a delayed penalty just seven minutes in. Dan Boyle answered two minutes later, ripping off a shot that missed two statuesque Ducks, a leaping Shark over the goal crease, which pin balled off the post and Emery, into the back of the net. This would be the closest that the Sharks would come to catching up.
After a skirmish in front of the Sharks’ net that left the Ducks with a five on three power play, and a strange goalie change that brought Dan Ellis into the net after two weeks of not playing, Corey Perry, got this third hat trick and 50th goal of the season (Steven Stamkos, where you at?).
For good measure, Selanne and Jason Blake also scored and Parros dropped gloves with youngster Mashinter, who later split his head after falling onto the ice.
The Ducks moved back up into the 7th spot, the Kings and Coyotes went into OT (and shootouts?) to determine who would hold onto the 5th/6th spot for a couple of days, and Corey Perry increased his lead over Steven Stamkos and Daniel Sedin in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy.
The Ducks’ present “Fan Appreciation Night” on their last home game of the year against the Kings on Friday. The Ducks’ last game of the season will be on Saturday at the Staples Center, in which they will have hopefully clinched a playoff spot by then.
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Written by KARLY TAMBARA