The San Jose Sharks have been on a streak of late and Thursday night saw them take down the visiting Ducks, 3-2. In the process, the Sharks are now in first place in the Pacific Division. The question is, what has happened to the Ducks?
Joe Thornton had a goal and two assists in the win.
“It’s so easy to play with him,” Thornton said of the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Burns. “He just goes. He’s just a beast out there. Nobody can handle his size and his speed. It just forces you to try to keep up with him because he’s going so fast. It’s great to watch.”
Brent Burns chipped in a goal and assist and earned the first star of the game for San Jose.
“You realize how big the game was for both teams and obviously, playing here at home, we feel it’s important to win these games,” Burns said.
Since early January the Sharks have been on their current tear through the NHL schedule. While the Ducks were unbeatable early in the season they have become pedestrian in their record and overall effort on the ice. At one in January, the Sharks trailed Anaheim by 13 points and since that point , San Jose has gone 17-6-1 while the Ducks are 9-10-2.
“It was even all game and they get the bounce and we don’t get the bounce,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “That’s the way it goes. It was a tough game but that’s what happens when two good teams go at it and fight tooth and nail. Everybody knew the importance of this game. Both teams looked focused and played to the end.”http://
Teams that are losing and not putting out the effort usually don’t get the bounces.
In Los Angeles, Jonathan Quick earned his 171st win as a Kings goalie tying Rogie Vachon for tops on the LA list of goalie wins.
“To be honest, I didn’t know I was that close until a couple of games ago and someone brought it up,” Quick said. “It’s special, and wins are a team effort, so I think that makes it a little more special and enjoyable because it’s 20 guys contributing towards wins. Obviously, if it wasn’t for the shootout, [I’d] be another season behind. He didn’t have the luxury of the shootout. In my mind, [I’m] still chasing him.”
The win came against the visiting Capitals in a shootout with Marian Gaborik netting the deciding goal in the third round of the shootout.
Anze Kopitar staked the Kings to a 1-0 first period lead before Joel Ward knotted the match up in the third with a wrist shot just past the midpoint of the period.
But it was Quick who stole the show and impressed the Caps bench boss.http://
“That’s who they are,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said of the Kings. “The goalie played great. The goalie maybe stole it for them, but they play a hard-nosed, physical game, and they did, and I’m proud of the guys, the way they stood up to it. You know, the second half of the game, I thought we kind of took it to them. We had a lot of good chances. I would say we carried the pace a little bit.”
Staying the west, in Glendale, the Coyotes got a big win over the Florida Panthers.
For Phoenix, it was their third straight and they survived in this one after Radim Vrbata and Antoine Vermette scored in the first-period.
Their defense stood tall the rest of the way and Mike Smith made 22 saves to s=preserve the victory.
“They all can’t be masterpieces,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said with a smile. “We got up two goals and we won. Let’s just leave it at that and take the points.
“I guess it was kind of a boring game, so we wanted to make it a little interesting.”
The Panthers pressured the Coyotes throughout the contest and made life difficult.
“It would have been nice if we could have scored a third one and a fourth one to put it away, but right now the points are what it’s all about,” Vrbata said. “The way to get to the playoffs is to keep winning. We have 12 games left and we have to keep it going.”
Vermette’s goal was the eventual game-winner and came with less than two minutes left in the opening period.
“We have to take to take care of what’s in front of us. We need to win period after period and we’ve been doing that,” Vermette said. “We know it’s not going to come easy. There is no easy game in this league. That team isn’t going to make (the playoffs), but they worked hard and gave us a great battle.”
Despite the early two-goal deficit the Panthers continued to play a strong game and did not quit.http://
“The guys didn’t quit; they kept pushing back, and we had 11 scoring chances in the third,” Panthers coach Peter Horachek said. “We had good opportunities, but Smith played well and kept them out.”
THURSDAY’S RESULTS (Home Team in Caps) NEW JERSEY 4, Minnesota 3 (OT) PHILADELPHIA 4, Dallas 2 Columbus 3, MONTREAL 2 Tampa Bay 5, OTTAWA 4 DETROIT 5, Pittsburgh 4 (OT) Buffalo 3, EDMONTON 1 PHOENIX 2, Florida 1 LOS ANGELES 2, Washington 1 (SO) SAN JOSE 3, Anaheim 2
SHARKS EDGE DUCKS, TAKE OVER FIRST IN PACIFIC Trailing 2-1 midway through the third period, Joe Thornton (1-2—3) scored the tying goal and earned the primary assist on Brent Burns’ game-winner to lead the Sharks to their seventh victory in their past eight outings.
* With the win, the Sharks (46-18-7, 99 points) leapfrogged the Ducks (45-18-7, 97 points) for first place in the Pacific Division. The Ducks, however, hold one game in hand and lead in ROW (ANA: 43, SJ: 36).
* Thornton recorded his fifth game of three or more points this season and the 100th such performance of his NHL career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two active players have more games with three-plus points: Jaromir Jagr (189) and Teemu Selanne (126).
* Burns reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time in his NHL career (58 GP). His previous career high was 17 goals, set in 80 games during the 2010-11 season.
* Patrick Marleau opened the scoring with his 29th goal of the season. He is now one shy of his seventh career 30-goal campaign.
* The Sharks improved to 10-3-1 at home versus the Ducks since the 2009-10 season.
ALFREDSSON’S LAST-SECOND GOAL LIFTS RED WINGS Daniel Alfredsson posted 2-1—3, including the winning goal with 0.4 seconds left in overtime (http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=582282) , to power the Red Wings to their third victory in their last four games.
* With the win, the Red Wings (32-24-13, 77 points) moved within one point of the idle Rangers (37-29-4, 78 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Red Wings have one game in hand, but the Rangers lead in ROW (NYR: 33, DET: 27).
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Alfredsson is the first NHL player to score a last-second goal in overtime since March 10, 2013, when Avalanche forward Matt Duchene did so in a 3-2 win over the Sharks.
* Elias also says that Thursday’s victory marks the fifth time in the past three seasons that the Red Wings have scored a winning goal in the final minute of overtime. They most recently did so Feb. 26, when Gustav Nyquist potted the decisive tally at 4:32 of the extra frame in a 2-1 victory over the Canadiens.
* Alfredsson now has six career regular-season overtime goals. He also has 3-2—5 during a three-game point streak, including the winning goal in consecutive games.
* Nyquist posted 1-1—2 to stretch his point streak to three games (4-1—5). He now has 15-12—27 over his past 22 outings after totaling 9-14—23 in his first 62 NHL games.
* The Red Wings improved to 8-0-2 in their last 10 games at Joe Louis Arena. They began the season with a 7-11-7 record on home ice.
GREENE’S OVERTIME GOAL SPOILS PARISE’S RETURN TO NEW JERSEY Andy Greene scored at 2:00 of overtime to help the Devils snap a three-game skid and spoil Zach Parise’s return to New Jersey.
* With the win, the Devils (30-27-13, 73 points) moved within five points of the idle Rangers (37-29-4, 78 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
* Greene also scored the overtime winner Dec. 21 versus the Capitals. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the third defenseman in Devils history to register at least two overtime goals in one season, following Scott Stevens (4 in 2001-02, 2 in 2002-03) and Johnny Oduya (2 in 2008-09).
* Jaromir Jagr scored his 23rd goal of the season to reach the 60-point milestone for the 17th time in 20 NHL seasons. Elias says that only Gordie Howe (21), Wayne Gretzky (19) and Ron Francis (18) have more seasons with 60 or more points (Marcel Dionne, Mark Messier and Joe Sakic also have 17).
* Peter DeBoer recorded his 200th head-coaching victory. He now has 97 wins behind the Devils’ bench, tied with Brent Sutter for third in franchise history.
QUICK, SUTTER HIT MILESTONES IN KINGS’ WIN Jonathan Quick made 21 saves, plus another two in the shootout, to help the Kings snap a three-game skid.
* With the win, the Kings (39-25-6, 84 points) maintained their five-point lead over the Coyotes (34-25-11, 79 points) for third place in the Pacific Division.
* Quick earned his 171st career victory, tying Rogie Vachon for the most in franchise history. Quick, however, picked up his 171st win in his 326th game, while Vachon totaled 171 victories in 389 appearances with the Kings.
* Quick improved to 35-20 with a .704 save percentage in 55 career shootouts, including a 5-2 mark with a .810 save percentage this season.
* Quick also improved to 7-2-0 with a 1.56 goals-against average, .935 save percentage and one shutout in his last nine games.
* Darryl Sutter became the 18th head coach in NHL history to record 500 victories. He now has a 91-54-22 mark in 167 games behind the Kings’ bench.
LIGHTNING MAKE IT FIVE IN A ROW . . . Knotted at 3-3 after 40 minutes, Eric Brewer and Ryan Callahan both scored in the third period to power the Lightning to their fifth consecutive victory, their second such winning streak of the season (also Dec. 15-23).
* With the win, the Lightning (39-24-7, 85 points) moved two points ahead of the Canadiens (38-26-7, 83 points) for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning also have one game in hand.
* The Lightning improved to 5-0-2 in their past seven games, their longest point streak since Jan. 17-Feb. 4, 2012 (6-0-1).
* Valtteri Filppula scored his team-leading 23rd goal of the season to extend his point streak to seven games (3-8—11), matching a career long. He also paces the Lightning with 52 points in 65 games.
* Teddy Purcell (2-0—2) recorded his second multi-goal game and eighth multi-point performance of the season.
. . . SIMMONDS, FLYERS STAY HOT Wayne Simmonds posted 2-0—2, including the game-winning goal, to lead the Flyers to their fourth consecutive victory. They also improved to 11-2-1 in their last 14 outings, including a 7-2-0 mark at Wells Fargo Center.
* With the win, the Flyers (37-25-7, 81 points) padded their lead for second place in the Metropolitan Division, moving three points ahead of the Blue Jackets (36-27-6, 78 points) and Rangers (37-29-4, 78 points).
* Simmonds recorded his fifth multi-goal game of the season. He now has 4-2—6 in his past four outings.
* Claude Giroux collected an assist to extend his assist/point streak to five games (1-7—8). The Flyers improved to 30-12-3 when he registers at least one point this season, including 14 consecutive victories (9-18—27 in those games).
JOHANSEN POWERS BLUE JACKETS Ryan Johansen scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:01 remaining in regulation to power the Blue Jackets to their third consecutive road victory.
* With the win, the Blue Jackets (36-27-6, 78 points) leapfrogged the idle Rangers (37-29-4, 78 points) for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Blue Jackets hold one game in hand, but the Rangers lead in ROW (NYR: 33, CBJ: 31).
* Johansen leads the Blue Jackets with 27 goals and 52 points in 69 games this season, both career highs. He had 14-19—33 in 107 career games entering 2013-14.
* Sergei Bobrovsky made 25 saves to improve to 7-2-1 with a 2.14 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and one shutout in his last 10 appearances.
COYOTES NIP PANTHERS, STRETCH WILD CARD LEAD Radim Vrbata and Antoine Vermette both scored in the first period to lead the Coyotes to their seventh victory in their last nine outings, including three straight.
* With the win, the Coyotes (34-25-11, 79 points) moved four points ahead of the Stars (32-26-11, 75 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
* Vrbata reached the 20-goal milestone for the fourth time in his NHL career (all with the Coyotes). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only three other players have recorded four 20-plus goal seasons for the Coyotes since the franchise relocated to Phoenix in 1996: Shane Doan (11), Jeremy Roenick (5) and Keith Tkachuk (5).
LOOSE PUCKS Cory Conacher posted 2-1—3, including the game-winning goal, to help the Sabres snap a seven-game skid. He also strapped on John Scott’s oversized helmet (http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=35&id=582460) during a stay in the penalty box . . . ICYMI: Senators forward Ales Hemsky deked through the Lightning defense (http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hdpid=49&id=582043) for his 11th goal of the season . . . Devils forwards Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias both collecte