NHL Game Summary - San Jose at Anaheim
(Sunday, December 18th)
Final Score: Anaheim 5, San Jose 4
Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) - Rob and Scott Niedermayer teamed up for the game-winning goal midway through the third period, as Anaheim handed San Jose its first loss in the Joe Thornton era with a 5-4 decision at The Pond.
Both Niedermayer brothers finished with a goal and an assist while Jean- Sebastien Giguere made 30 saves for the Mighty Ducks, who rebounded from Friday's 4-3 shootout defeat to Los Angeles with a narrow victory.
Rookie Grant Stevenson netted a pair of goals and Patrick Marleau scored once while assisting on another in the setback, the Sharks' first in seven games since acquiring Thornton from Boston on November 30.
"It was a huge victory, especially with the way they've been playing since that trade," said Rob Niedermayer.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 29 of 34 shots for San Jose.
Neither team led by more than one goal in a see-saw battle that saw Anaheim move ahead four times and the Sharks responding after each goal.
"It seemed like (the Mighty Ducks) would score and we'd score again two shifts later," Thornton remarked.
The clubs were deadlocked at 4-4 until Scott Niedermayer sent the puck on net and it caromed off the shaft of Rob's stick before ricocheting past Nabokov with 10:04 to play. The play was reviewed to see if Rob Niedermayer had his stick too high on the deflection, but the call would stand and he was credited with the goal.
"I couldn't tell from the replay," said San Jose head coach Ron Wilson. "Our guys said it hit the shaft of (Niedermayer's) stick above the top of the net."
San Jose nearly again recorded the equalizer with around 6 1/2 minutes left, but Scott Hannan hit the post on a 2-on-1 attempt.
The Sharks were on the power play during the final minutes -- including a brief 5-on-3 opportunity -- but couldn't capitalize.
Anaheim opened the scoring while shorthanded near the 12-minute mark of the first period. With Ruslan Salei in the box for tripping, Chris Kunitz stole the puck from Nicholas Dimitrakos and beat Nabokov on a breakaway for a 1-0 lead.
The Sharks would draw even late in the opening session when Stevenson landed a wrister over Giguere's shoulder with San Jose on the power play.
Scott Niedermayer fired a rocket from the right point by a screened Nabokov 3:36 into the second period to put the Ducks back in front, but San Jose would counter two minutes later.
Salei lost the puck in his own zone to Marleau, who skated out to the left circle and snapped a shot into the back of the net to knot the contest at 2-2.
Anaheim went back ahead at the 11:05 mark of the second when Todd Fedoruk's wobbler from the right side got past Nabokov's stick, but again the Sharks would answer before the period came to a close.
Marleau skated in the right wing and behind the net, where he flipped the puck over the goal and towards the center to an awaiting Stevenson for a pretty one-timer with 6:17 remaining until the second intermission.
Todd Marchant gave the Ducks the lead back 4:10 into the third period when he raced to the net and received a backhanded feed from Joffrey Lupul before depositing the disc from in close.
San Jose tied it with 11:30 to go on a re-direction by Scott Thornton of a blast by Tom Preissing.
The game was the first of a home-and-home series between the clubs that concludes Tuesday in San Jose...Anaheim snapped a five-game losing streak to the Sharks...Joe Thornton extended his point streak to 13 games with an assist on Scott Thornton's marker...Stevenson registered his first NHL two-goal game in his 11th career outing...The Ducks improved to 12-6-3 at home.
12/18 23:22:57 ET