NHL Game Summary - Anaheim at San Jose
(Thursday, October 9th)
Final Score: San Jose 4, Anaheim 1
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Jonathan Cheechoo scored a pair of goals and the San Jose Sharks pounded the Anaheim Ducks in convincing fashion, 4-1, in a battle of Pacific Division rivals from the HP Pavilion.
Christian Ehrhoff and Devin Setoguchi also scored for the Sharks, who got a win for new head coach Todd McLellan in his regular-season debut behind the bench. Milan Michalek and Rob Blake registered a pair of assists apiece.
Evgeni Nabokov, who had his finest season as an NHL goaltender in 2007-08 and was runner-up for the Vezina Trophy, made 28 saves to get the win.
San Jose finished atop the Pacific Division last season with 108 points and beat Calgary in the first round, but was knocked out by Dallas in the conference semifinals, marking the third straight year that the club was eliminated in the second round.
San Jose's biggest offseason addition in defenseman Dan Boyle had an assist and immediately became the anchor on defense for a Stanley Cup hopeful Sharks squad. Boyle, who was acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay during the summer, topped all teammates with 25-plus minutes of ice time, including a team-high 8:54 on the power-play unit.
Rob Niedermayer scored the lone goal for Anaheim, which looked lethargic next to an energized Sharks' attack. The Ducks, who finished second to San Jose in the division with 102 points, were bounced from the playoffs by Dallas in last year's opening round.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere did well in preventing a further lopsided loss, as the former Stanley Cup Finals MVP was peppered with 41 shots.
"It takes three periods to complete a hockey game and we weren't very good after the first period for whatever reason," Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. "We must have turned it over close to 10 times in the first five minutes of the second period. It seemed like they got another gear going and we stood around and watched and started to play the game on our back end. They came at us in waves and we started to take penalties."
The teams skated to a scoreless tie in the first period with the Sharks failing to connect on their first power play, but Cheechoo sent a wrister past Giguere just over 2 1/2 minutes into the second.
Michalek skated into the zone and sent a cross-ice pass to the right circle, where Boyle fired a one-timer that Giguere kicked back in front and Cheechoo found the back of the net.
Cheechoo made it 2-0 Sharks on the power-play just over four minutes later. After Scott Niedermayer was sent off for high-sticking, Joe Thornton corralled a loose puck in the right corner and found Cheechoo in the slot for a quick snap shot over Giguere's right shoulder.
"It's nice to get two goals early. Any time you can contribute to a win, it makes it more meaningful," Cheechoo said.
The Sharks again tallied with the man-advantage just under three minutes into the final period. Ehrhoff cranked a shot from the point and the puck found its way through a screen and over the right shoulder of Giguere for a 3-0 lead.
"I think the biggest thing is, we're getting more shots from the point," Cheechoo stated. "Guys are getting pucks through, for tonight, anyway. It makes you want to go to the net more when you know the shots are going to come."
Anaheim tallied late in the third when a Steve Montador shot from just outside the left circle deflected off Rob Niedermayer's stick and past Nabokov, but Setoguchi quashed any hopes of a comeback with a backhander almost 1 1/2 minutes later.
Anaheim won the season series against the Sharks, 5-3, in 2007-08 and has won seven of 12 and nine of the last 15 meetings overall...Despite the outcome, San Jose has lost six of its last eight season-opening contests, while Anaheim has began three of its last six campaigns with wins...Scott Niedermayer led the Ducks with 25:42 of ice time while Teemu Selanne led the team with six shots on goal...Blake also recorded his first points as a Shark after being signed as a free agent in the offseason.
10/10 03:51:00 ET