“Hits and Misses” for Sharks at Ducks 4/6/11

Result:  SHARKS 2, Ducks 6

San Jose Sharks goalie Antero Niittymaki looks down after giving up a second period goal to Anaheim Ducks Teemu Selanne in the second period Wednesday night. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Dan Boyle – Boyle scored his ninth goal of the season at 8:45 of the second period that got the Sharks on the scoreboard and cut the Ducks lead to 3-1.  With a face-off in the Ducks zone, the Sharks won the draw and controlled the puck in the Ducks zone.  Sharks forward Kyle Wellwood carried the puck in the slot but lost it on a poke check from a Ducks defender.  The puck came out to Boyle at the point and with Sharks forward Torrey Mitchell screening in front, Boyle stepped into one that Mitchell had to jump out of the way of and deflected off Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin skate past Ducks goalie Ray Emery low blocker side for the goal.

Douglas Murray – Murray dropped the gloves with Ducks forward Brad Winchester at 12:12 of the first period in what was a two punch fight.  As both men were circling each other, Murray threw a wild punch that missed but scared Winchester enough that he turned his back to Murray and started to skate away.  Murray had none of it as he grabbed Winchester and threw two shots that put Winchester to the ice.

Brandon Mashinter – In an attempt to inject some life into his team, Mashinter, who was called up from Worcester this morning due to Sharks forward Ryane Clowe‘s injury, dropped the gloves at 3:02 of the third period with Ducks toughman George Parros and more than held his own with the grizzly veteran, landing several good shots that rocked and stunned Parros.  The end of the fight saw Mashinter fall to the ice after loosing his balance following a couple jab shots by Parros, who opened a nasty gash on Mashinter’s head by falling on top of Mashinter and having his elbow drive Mashinter’s head into the ice.  While on the ice, Parros gave Mashinter a tap on the back, acknowledging that Mashinter did alright.  Mashinter also tied for a team high four hits in the game.

Andrew Desjardins/Ben Eager – Despite being down 6-1, Desjardins and Eager continued to play hard and their hard work resulted in Eager’s seventh goal of the year at 5:29 of the third period that cut the Ducks lead to 6-2.  Desjardins, who was credited with his second assist of the season on the goal, dumped the puck into the Ducks zone and chased after the puck into the end board.  From the end board, Desjardins backhanded a pass out in front that deflected off the stick of Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who had jumped up on the play, and laid loose in the slot.  Eager skated up in the slot uncovered and fired a shot in the slot that beat Ducks goalie Dan Ellis for the goal.

Ian White – White tied with Mashinter for a team high four hits in the game.

MISSES

Sharks Team – This was an abysmal performance by a Sharks team that played like a team with nothing on the line due to them clinching their fourth straight Pacific Division title Monday night with their 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.  Tonight, the Sharks went up against a Ducks team that was fighting for their playoff lives and got an old fashion butt whooping in the process.  The Sharks must have forgotten that they are still playing for something, which is the number two overall seed in the Western Conference Standings.  With the loss, the Sharks are now 47-24-9 with 103 points and remain the number two seed in the Western Conference by one point over the Detroit Red Wings due to the Carolina Hurricanes beating the Red Wings 3-0 tonight.

Antero Niittymaki – When the news broke on Twitter this afternoon that Niittymaki was making his first start in net for the Sharks since his January 13th home loss to the Edmonton Oilers, I was totally against it.  I understand the need to have Niittymaki back in net to work off rust due to his injury but I felt it could have waited until the home-and-home this weekend against the Phoenix CoyotesAntti Niemi had made 34 consecutive starts for the Sharks in net and was an incredible 26-4-4 during that stretch.  Why tinker with something when it’s not broken?  To me, and others have said this, Niemi is the type of goalie that plays better the more he plays.  Maybe it was just a bad night for Niittymaki, who stopped 28 out of 34 shots in the loss, but if this happens again this weekend against the Coyotes, there might be cause for some concern.

1st Period – The first 10 minutes of the opening frame, both teams seemed lackadaisical as their wasn’t much juice to the game.  That all changed in the second half of the period as the Ducks scored two goals to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.  The first Ducks goal, which was Corey Perry‘s 48th goal of the season, was the result of a lack of back-check from the Sharks.  Ducks forward Bobby Ryan carried the puck into the neutral zone and dumped the puck off at the blue line to Perry, who skated in, beat Vlasic at the low face-off circle with a toe-drag and backhanded a shot past the blocker side of Niittymaki.  The second Ducks goal was scored by rookie Cam Fowler, his 10th of the season, just nine seconds into the Ducks Power Play at 18:14 on a slapshot from the blue line that beat Niittymaki, who was semi-screened in front.

2nd Period – This is where the Sharks lost the game as three of the Ducks four goals in the middle frame were scored on the Power Play.  Perry scored his second goal of the game at 6:46 to put the Ducks up 3-0 and scored a Power Play goal just four minutes later at 10:57 for the Hat Trick to put the Ducks up 4-1; Ducks forward Teemu Selanne scored his 29th goal of the season on the Power Play at 12:24 via a questionable kicking motion in the slot off of Fowler’s shot from the point that was upheld by officials and Ducks forward Jason Blake scored his 16th goal of the season on the Power Play at 15:16 via a 2-on-0 rush with line mate Saku Koivu.

Discpline – The Sharks lackadaisical play resulted in the them uncharacteristically taking eight penalties for the game {five minors, one double minor and two fighting majors}, which came back to haunt them on the scoreboard as the Ducks went 4-for-6 with the man advantage.

Penalty Killers – This was a game the Sharks Penalty Killers would rather forget as they only killed off two Ducks Power Play chances out of six.  That’s not going to win any games.

Power Play – The Sharks Power Play unit went 0-for-4 with the man advantage and failed to capitalize on a HUGE 5-on-3 advantage at the start of the second period.  The Sharks had a 1:24 of carry over time from Ducks forward Todd Marchant‘s “hooking” penalty from the first period and just 10 seconds into the second period, Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman was called for “interference,” giving the Sharks 1:14 of 5-on-3 time.  However, for some inexplicable reason, the Sharks had no poise, were impatient with the puck and were content to fire shots on net from the perimeter instead of taking the puck hard to the net.

Referees – My only gripe with the officials tonight was the double “roughing” minor they assessed Sharks forward Dany Heatley at 9:54 of the second period that opened the flood gates for the Ducks.  All Heatley did on the play was finish his check on Perry at the edge of Niittymaki’s goalie crease, which was a clean hit.  Honestly, with the scrum that ensued, how could the officials give either team an advantage and why didn’t Beauchemin get an extra minor penalty for his headlock and throwing punches?  I don’t want to sound like a homer but that was just awful officiating in that sequence.

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About Jon Allred

Life long San Jose and Worcester Sharks fan that bleeds teal and black.

Posted on April 6, 2011, in Sports and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The Niittymaki start is a tough call.

    On one hand he is rusty & if he’ll be needed in the post season it’s best to get him in a few games. Personally, if they were to start him this weekend for the home-and-home it could screw with the Sharks’ momentum. If he were to get a loss, like he did last night, it would be a worse loss if it were the last away or last home game.

    On the other hand, you’re right, Niemi seems to play best with more play. As a goalie, I think most do better the more they play…at least when I was a goalie it seemed that way too. The Sharks are not in the same position as Vancouver, a loss means something different for the Sharks, a 2nd or 3rd seed. I didn’t see the game, so I didn’t see the 6 goals Anaheim scored, but a loss is rarely solely a goalie’s loss.

    Even if Niittymaki just had an “off” night, I think a bigger concern is how the team played behind him. He knows he didn’t play a rock-solid game & there’s time to adjust. During the losing streak the team had a hard time playing all three periods, they need to play through the season. They were playing a team who will be in the playoffs too & they could be facing next week, not a team who’s out.

    Regardless, I can’t say I was for starting Niittymaki last night, but it was an overcomeable loss. To allow 6 goals after a streak of such great defence is a dissappointment, but I hope the Phoenix games will set the Sharks back on track with the right momentum going into next week.

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