Ducks3 Sharks 2
SAN JOSE, Calif. — With a little bit of timely scoring and a whole lot of stellar goaltending, the Anaheim Ducks are halfway to an improbable playoff upset of the top-seeded San Jose Sharks.
Andrew Ebbett broke a tie with his first career playoff goal from an awkward angle with 10:16 left, and the Ducks stopped the Sharks with another defensive gem in a 3-2 victory Sunday night, taking a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Jonas Hiller made 42 saves in his second outstanding victory, while Bobby Ryan and Drew Miller also scored their first playoff goals as the eighth-seeded Ducks took two games in the Shark Tank from San Jose, which lost just five home games in regulation during the entire regular season.
Ryane Clowe’s goal early in the second period ended more than 174 minutes of scoreless playoff hockey for the Sharks dating to last season, but San Jose couldn’t rally despite another monstrous edge in shots.
Game 3 is Tuesday night in Anaheim.
An eighth seed has beaten a top seed seven times in the NHL playoffs since 1994, and playoff-tested Anaheim is ripe to add its name to the list. San Jose must win four of the next five games, including two in Anaheim, to avoid what would be a disastrous end to a 117-point season capped by the franchise’s first Presidents’ Trophy.
Jonathan Cheechoo also scored, and Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves for the Sharks, who outshot Anaheim 44-26 after a 35-17 edge in the Ducks’ 2-0 Game 1 victory. But San Jose dropped to 0-for-12 on the power play in the series after going scoreless in six chances in Game 2.
The Sharks’ frustration only was heightened in the third period when the Ducks scored on Ebbett’s fortunate deflection and Miller’s rebound shot through traffic in a 31/2-minute span, while San Jose managed only Cheechoo’s goal with 6:06 left.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan broke up his top-line pairing of Joe Thornton and captain Patrick Marleau for Game 2, moving around his top two scorers but rarely icing them together.