Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sharks stomp Ducks 4-1 in season opener

It was a big night for Teal Town - new coach Todd McLellan guided the San Jose Sharks to a dominating 4-1 victory over their fierce rival, the Anaheim Ducks, at San Jose's sold out HP Pavilion. Tonight was McLellan's first game as a head NHL coach (he spent the last few seasons with Detroit as an assistant), and he rose to the occasion nicely after a mediocre 3-4-0 preseason.

After a scoreless first period, former Maurice Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo got the Sharks on the board with two goals in the second period. The first was even-strength at 2:32 with assists from new defenseman Dan Boyle and Milan Michalek. Cheech's second was on a power play (5-on-4, though it was previously a 5-on-3) four minutes later (Ducks' captain Scott Niedermayer called for high sticking), assisted by Joe Thornton and the newly-christened #4, Rob Blake - Kyle McLaren fans' sensations of betrayal were eased by Blake's work tonight; still, I wonder why Blake couldn't stay #5.

The Sharks took full advantage of the Ducks' five penalties in the second period, putting up 21 shots in 20 minutes, and converting on one of the five power plays. They also held the Ducks to just three shots on goal during the middle frame.

In the third period, Christian Ehrhoff had a nice shot from the blue line that beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere during a Sharks power play (former Florida Panther Steve Montador called for hooking), making it 3-0, San Jose. Milan Michalek notched his second assist, while Devin Setoguchi also contributed.

The Ducks finally got on the board during the final minutes of the third period, when Rob Niedermayer ruined Evgeni Nabokov's shutout bid on Anaheim's 25th shot on goal, with help from Steve Montador and Chris "I was demoted to alternate captain" Pronger. Devin Setoguchi avenged Nabby just over a minute later with his first goal of the season (assisted by Patrick Marleau and Rob Blake), a backhand shot under pressure which appeared to be helped into the net by Giguere himself (from what I could tell on the replay).

The Shark Tank went wild - not only did this ensure a Sharks victory, but it also guaranteed a free personal pan Round Table pizza to all in attendance (yes, even Ducks fans - and there were more than a few). After all, "four in the net, pizza you get!" At least I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow...


  • The Sharks unveiled the 2007-08 Pacific Division Champion banner to surprisingly minimal fanfare - though the Shark Tank was going absolutely wild in anticipation of the game at hand. For the record, Teal Town will not rest until the Stanley Cup banner is hung from the rafters.

  • Tomas Plihal, of all people, had the Sharks' first shot on goal - which was captured entirely by Giguere. Chris "McStompy" Pronger had the Ducks' first shot, which was swept away.

  • Defenseman Dan Boyle led the Sharks in ice time with 25:18, followed by Rob Blake with 23:40. Captain Patrick Marleau led Sharks' forwards with 21:08.

  • The Sharks outshot the Ducks 41-29, and had more than double the shots at the end of the second period.

  • The Sharks won 35 faceoffs, to Anaheim's 25.

  • Jeremy Roenick dealt a crushing hit at the players' bench to a player that I am struggling to remember - Samuel Pahlsson? Travis Moen? Feel free to let me know in the comments. UPDATE - it was actually Steve Montador (welcome to the Pacific, Steve).

  • Marc-Edouard Vlasic looked out-of-sorts in (I think) the second period - some form of injury. Pickles still finished the night with 22:03 in ice time.

  • The two Sharks' penalties went to Lukas Kaspar in the first period (high sticking), and Christian Ehrhoff (hooking) in the second period.

  • Alexei Semenov (a minus-5 in the preseason) was a healthy scratch for the Sharks (we know how well he does against Anaheim...), while Marcel Goc was a not-so-healthy scratch. Former Vancouver Canuck Nathan McIver and Ryan Carter were scratches for the Ducks.

  • The "Ducks Suck" chant was in heavy use tonight - not surprisingly. Also, there was a happy marriage tonight between duck calls and Cheechoo train whistles.

  • I heartily invite every Sharks fan to read the Anaheim Ducks' running blog of tonight's game - to see the writers' *witticisms*, and to realize that the respectability of Anaheim's players (or lack thereof) directly correlates to that of their media. I also find it amusing that they claim Torrey Mitchell was on the ice tonight (see 17:50 under the second period).

  • The Sharks are now 4-9-2 in season openers, while the Ducks are now 4-11-0.

  • For those on the very-early Richard Trophy watch, Jonathan Cheechoo is in a four-way tie for second place (Ottawa's Dany Heatley, who has the advantage of having played two games - in Sweden, by the way - leads the field with 3 goals).

Other NHL stuff tonight

  • Former Sharks coach Ron Wilson spoiled the Detroit Red Wings' Stanley Cup banner celebrations by guiding his Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory in *Hockeytown.* Vesa Toskala was also listed as Toronto's captain, at least for the evening (beating Vancouver's Roberto Luongo by a few hours as the first goaltender captain to take the ice since Montreal's Bill Durnen, in 1947-48).

  • The Boston Bruins beat the Colorado Avalanche in Denver, 5-4 - the second time in as many years that they beat the home team by one goal to spoil the season opener (give you one guess as to who got beat last year... HINT - the power went out at the arena).

  • The Vancouver Canucks, fresh off a nearly-unbeaten streak in the preseason, absolutely demolished the Calgary Flames, 6-0 at the GM Place. Something we can all approve, I suppose...

The Sharks take on the Los Angeles Kings this weekend, first in San Jose on Saturday, and then at the Staples Center on Sunday.


Mr. Plank said...

Nice recap Mr. Keirstad- enjoyed the game and your write up immensely.

Dustin said...

@ Mr. Plank
Thanks, man! I'm looking forward to more great hockey from the men in teal! Also looking forward to WBT posts!