Ducks close in on Sharks in division race with 2-1 victory
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By JOSH DUBOW
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) The Anaheim Ducks aren't quite ready to give up hope of winning the division they have topped for the past four seasons.
"This is the team we're chasing," captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "You don't ever want to let them know that we've given up. I'm sure they viewed it as a way to put us away for the year. For our group, it's nice to come out and respond after a tough overtime loss last night."
The Ducks bounced back from a shootout loss the previous night at home against Buffalo to win the final regular-season matchup between the California rivals and move within four points in the division race. San Jose has one game in hand.
Jonathan Bernier made 33 saves to win for the fifth time in his past six starts.
"We really showed tonight that our compete level was really high and we wanted it more than them," Bernier said. "It really showed tonight. They scored on the 5-on-3, but other than that we blocked a lot of shots tonight."
San Jose played with desperation in the final period, knowing that even earning a point by forcing the game into overtime would help their cause in the division race.
But Bernier was up to the task, stopping Patrick Marleau during a wild scramble midway through the period and then denying a good chance by Couture a few minutes later. San Jose had 14 shots in all in the third, but couldn't get the equalizer.
"We had chances to score three of four," coach Peter DeBoer said. "We didn't, and that's a credit to the goalie."
The teams traded goals in the first period with the Ducks scoring in the opening minute when Eaves was left alone in front to take a pass from Ryan Getzlaf for his 24th goal 39 seconds into the game.
Couture answered late in the period after Cam Fowler took a tripping penalty with Anaheim already short-handed. The Sharks capitalized on the two-man advantage when Joe Thornton found Couture in front for his 25th goal.
Both teams had plenty of chances between those goals, but Tomas Hertl was robbed by a post for San Jose, Ryan Kesler hit the crossbar on a breakaway for Anaheim and Micheal Haley was stopped on a breakaway for the Sharks.
The Sharks picked up their play in the second period. Couture hit the post on the power play in the opening seconds and the Ducks went 13 minutes without a shot on goal at one point. But Anaheim ended up regaining the lead midway through the period. Silfverberg blocked a point shot by Paul Martin and went in alone on a breakaway for what proved to be the game-winner.
"I made a mistake on the one that cost us a goal, but mostly we played the way we wanted," Martin said. "If we play like this down the stretch, we'll win some games. Tonight was a better effort. "
Bernier made a big stop on Joel Ward late in the second to keep the Ducks ahead.
NOTES: Getzlaf recorded his 800th career point with the assist on Eaves' goal. ... Sharks F Jannik Hansen left with an undisclosed injury in the third period. ... Ducks F Andrew Cogliano played his 776 consecutive game, tying Craig Ramsay for the fourth longest streak in NHL history. ... Couture played his 500th career game.
Ducks: Host Edmonton on Wednesday
Sharks: Visit Dallas on Monday.
Updated March 19, 2017