Lindholm goal the difference as Ducks edge Sharks

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[December 10, 2016]  ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm hadn't scored a goal since last March, but he knew exactly what to do with the puck after taking a pass from Nick Ritchie late in Friday night's game against the visiting San Jose Sharks.

"I was just thinking, 'Shoot, shoot, don't miss,' " he said.

Lindholm did just that, firing the puck past San Jose goaltender Martin Jones with 5:38 left in regulation and the Ducks held on to win, 3-2, at Honda Center, putting them back atop the Pacific Division standings.

"You want to have an impact on the game," Lindholm said. "Tonight, that goal was real big for us. I think I had some defensible plays too that kind of helped us in the defensive zone, and that's what I'm focusing on, but it was real nice to see one go in."

Ritchie, who missed a good scoring chance moments before the go-ahead goal, carried the puck through the neutral zone and then stopped near the San Jose goal line before passing the puck back to Lindholm. The fourth-year defenseman fired the puck from just inside the right circle, through the legs of Sharks winger Joel Ward and past Jones for his first goal since tying the score in the final minute of regulation March 26 against the Ottawa Senators, a game the Ducks won in overtime.

Rickard Rakell and Antoine Vermette also scored for the Ducks, and goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped 22 shots.

Sharks center Joe Pavelski missed a prime opportunity to give his team a one-goal lead earlier in the third period when Bernier was left out of position with just a Ducks defender between Pavelski and the net, but Pavelski shot well wide.

"Kind of rolls up, catches the blade and it's not even close," Pavelski said of the shot. "Those are the moments you have to cash in."

After the Ducks erased a pair of two-goal deficits in their 6-5 shootout victory Wednesday against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, the Sharks did the same to Anaheim just before the midway point of the second period.

Bernier made three big saves earlier in the second period, but Logan Couture then spotted Kevin Labanc all alone on the other side of the offensive zone. Labanc was so wide open, he had time to hold the puck and eye his target before shooting it past Bernier to tie the score 2-2 with 11:20 left in the middle frame.

The Ducks had taken a 2-0 lead in the first period, only to give the first half of it back in the final seconds.

Anaheim scored its first goal 4:44 into the game after Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic tried to clear the puck up the middle, but Anaheim defenseman Shea Theodore was waiting in the high slot.

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Ducks goalie Jonathan Bernier (1) and defenseman Hampus Lindholm (47) defend the goal againstSan Jose Sharks left wing Patrick Marleau (12) during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Theodore sent a wrist shot at Jones, who made the save, but Rakell was in position for the rebound and slid it by Jones for his 11th goal in 17 games this season and seventh in the last nine.

Rakell had missed the previous two games with an upper-body injury.

Theodore also assisted on the second goal as he carried the puck down the left side and fed Vermette in the middle. Vermette slipped the puck past Jones for a 2-0 lead with 4:54 left in the opening period, his first goal in nine games.

The Sharks capitalized one second after a power-play expired as Patrick Marleau passed from just below the goal line to defenseman Brent Burns, who beat Bernier with a wrist shot to cut the deficit in half with 5.7 seconds left in the opening period.

At least the Sharks have a chance to put this loss behind them in a hurry, as they host the Hurricanes on Saturday night.

"If we keep playing our game, we feel confident," Pavelski said.

NOTES: The Ducks put LW Ryan Garbutt on waivers Thursday and he cleared Friday. Garbutt has two goals in 27 games, the last in a 3-2 victory in San Jose on Nov. 26. ... Sharks D David Schlemko missed his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury, but should be ready for the start of a four-game road trip Tuesday at the Toronto Maple Leafs. Dylan DeMelo remained in the lineup for the Sharks, and D Mirco Mueller was recalled for the second time this week from the AHL San Jose Barracuda, and was scratched along with LW Matt Nieto. ... RW Jared Boll and D Korbinian Holzer were the scratches for the Ducks.

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