"It's something that doesn't happen often," Anaheim defenseman Cam
Fowler said of the club-record, 10-game run. "You're playing against
the best in the world, and you've got to be proud of that. You're
going to lose one eventually. But we've lost one in a row, and
that's the way we have to look at it."
San Jose center Bracken Kearns scored his first career goal, center
Logan Couture tallied the 100th of his career and goalie Antti Niemi
was on top of his game, stopping 30 of 31 shots, to give the Sharks
a key win in the opener of a home-and-home series against Anaheim.
"It's a huge two games," said center Joe Thornton, the Sharks'
captain. "They are kind of running away with our division right now,
and we brought them back a little bit. It's going to be another huge
game on Tuesday."
The Sharks (25-8-6) jumped on Anaheim early as Brent Burns scored
his 12th goal 77 seconds after the opening faceoff. Couture followed
with his first in 12 games at 10:07 in the first period.
"We knew they would come fast in the first, but I guess we weren't
prepared for that," said Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen, who made 20
saves. "That's all on us. We have to be ready from the start to beat
The Sharks weathered a couple of extended Anaheim cycles in the
second period, needing to use their timeout after one icing call,
but they reached the second intermission with a 3-0 lead thanks to a
milestone goal from Kearns.
"I think falling behind by three was the (biggest) one," Ducks coach
Bruce Boudreau said. "When you're down by two and you have two
periods, all you have to do is win each period. Simplify it and make
the task easier."
San Jose center Andrew Desjardins drove the left wing and attempted
a wrap-around after briefly losing control. The rebound went into
the slot, where Kearns crashed to become the oldest Shark to score
his first in the NHL — 32 years, 231 days.
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Kearns was recalled from the minor leagues before the game.
"I don't know how many organizations would give a 32-year-old
an opportunity like they've given me," Kearns said. "You keep
working at it, setting your goals high. I've dreamt about
scoring in the NHL when I was a kid."
Kearns' previous NHL exposure consisted of five games with the
Florida Panthers in 2011-12. After that season, he signed as a
free agent with the Sharks, knowing it would be a long road to
get back to the NHL.
Kearns' previous pro stops included Toledo, Cleveland,
Milwaukee, Norfolk, Reading, San Antonio and Worcester as he saw
time in the East Coast Hockey League and the American Hockey
"It's a great story, isn't it?" Sharks coach Todd McLellan said.
"It's great for him, but there also is a lesson about
persevering. He's done that. Even this year, there were times he
could have been dejected about not being the guy coming up. He
left his mark on the game and the team tonight."
Niemi was denied his 26th career shutout at 11:32 of the final
period when Ducks left winger Patrick Maroon scored his third
goal of the season on a setup by right winger Corey Perry.
"To a man, I thought everyone left what they had on the ice,"
McLellan said. "They're a pretty good hockey club. We hung in
there to the end and got the points we needed."
NOTES: The Sharks lost RW Tommy Wingels to an apparent leg
injury inside the first two minutes of the game. ... San Jose
tied a franchise record with 30 blocked shots and won 40 of 63
faceoffs. ... D Scott Hannan and C John McCarthy were healthy
scratches for San Jose, which remains without RW Martin Havlat
(lower body), LW Tomas Hertl (knee), RW Raffi Torres (knee) and
RW Adam Burish (back). ... The Ducks continue to miss D Sheldon
Souray (wrist), D Luca Sbisa (hand) and G Viktor Fasth (muscle
inflammation). Anaheim did not dress LW Matt Beleskey, D Sami
Vatanen and RW Teemu Selanne, who did not travel for the second
night of back-to-back games.
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