Considering that it was the final pre-season game of the year and the last chance to impress, you would think the Ducks would have done better against San Jose. They did not.
Instead, Anaheim was less than impressive in the 6-5 loss. They came close, but close only counts in hand grenades and dance contests.
Things started off pretty even on the scoreboard, and then San Jose broke things wide open. After going down 5-2 by the middle of the second period, the end seemed obvious.
Two goals in :14 seconds from Kyle Palmieri and Dustin Penner brought the Ducks back to within one goal. Dan Boyle, scoring his second goal in the game, promptly restored a two goal lead to the Sharks and effectively killed Anaheim's momentum.
Saku Koivu's goal with 2:47 to play made things interesting, but San Jose hung on for the win.
"I know you shouldn't be saying this in preseason, but it was like men vs. boys for the first two periods," was coach Bruce Boudreau's assessment.
The Ducks had been outshot 33-10 by the end of two periods and Jonas Hiller was less than stellar in net.
"We were already down a couple by the time I kind of felt good and was feeling the puck," said Hiller. "We'll get our confidence back, have a few good days of practice. It's 0-0 come Wednesday."
Yes, it will be a clean slate on Wednesday, when the Ducks open the regular season in Colorado. Nonetheless, they need to clean up the mistakes and errors and your supposed number one goaltender needs to be feeling it sooner than the third period. The players in front of him also have to be better.
They have three days to figure it out.
In other notes:
Defenseman Nolan Yonkman was put on waivers on Sunday, with the intention of sending him down to Norfolk of the AHL.
But San Jose killed the Ducks momentum, scoring on the power play at 7:36, soon after a Devante Smith-Pelly interference penalty. Dan Boyle sent a shot from the left point past a screened Jonas Hiller to make it 6-4 Sharks.
Anaheim made it 6-5 as Saku Koivu pounced on a loose puck off a rebound and backhanded it over the shoulder of goalie Antti Niemi. But that’s as close as Anaheim got, failing to score that sixth goal in the final minutes, including when Hiller went to the bench for an extra attacker.
The Ducks and Sharks scored five combined in the first period, trading goals until the Sharks went out in front 3-2.
Among the goals scored in the period was an amazing one from Andrew Cogliano at just around the halfway mark. Cogliano chased the puck into the San Jose zone before putting a spin move on Scott Hannan, falling to the ice and lifting the puck with the backhand past Niemi.
A spin move by Koivu set up the game’s first goal, from Daniel Winnik 4:46 into the game. Koivu spun to give himself some room to drop the puck to Mark Fistric, whose point shot was tipped down and through by Winnik.
But the Sharks answered each Ducks goal in the period, scoring two straight from Joe Pavelski and Jason Demers to take the lead into the first break.
The Sharks made it 4-2 relatively early in the second stanza when John McCarthy gathered in a rebound off Hiller and backhanded it home. Then five minutes into the period, a Matt Beleskey roughing penalty and a Ryan Getzlaf cross-checking call (for which the home crowd voiced its disapproval), led to a two-man San Jose advantage. The Ducks paid for it, as a Boyle point shot ricocheted off the chest of Hiller, and hit a Duck in the back before trickling over the stripe.
The Ducks still have roster cuts to make before opening the season on Wednesday in Colorado.
"My concern is up there," Boudreau said. "I’m concerned we haven’t been able to put our lineup out there yet, once. That’s a concern. And I don’t know if it’s going to be ready by Wednesday, so that’s a definite concern.
"I thought that team was much faster than us tonight. That’s a concern, and I’m glad to see we had no quit and kept coming back, but we wouldn’t have deserved to win or anything if we had tied it up. It would’ve been a false sense of doing something. The right outcome actually happened."