Tuesday, December 18, 2007

12/16/07 sharks 2, ANAHEIM 1 SO

Niedermayer, schniedermayer.

The former captain, Scott Niedermayer made his valiant return from "deciding to not retire" last night. Somehow, he didn't get to mark it with a win. Torrey Mitchell scored on a breakaway after being knocked down, but decided to just get back up and score anyway. Bobby Ryan had the lone goal for the Ducks, a nice shot off a cross ice pass from the other debuting Duck, Doug Weight (traded for Andy McDonald late last week). Evgeni Nabokov hit consecutive start #32 (in 32 Sharks games this year), making 30 stops in this one, and earning win #18.

After a strong OT period, the two teams headed for a Shootout for the third time in three games. New Duck (since the beginning of the year) Todd Bertuzzi got the skills competition started, scoring on a pinpoint backhander up and over the glove hand of Nabokov. Mitchell tried the same move he used earlier to success on J. S. Giguere, but to no avail. Weight was next up, and was stopped by a sprawling, pad stacked Nabokov. Joe Pavelski slipped a wrister 5-hole on Giguere to tie the shootout at 1. Ryan Getzlaf beat the goalie, but couldn't beat the goal, ringing his shot off the crossbar. Devin Setoguchi was unable to capitalize on his chance to win it, getting it stuck in Giguere's sleepingbag sized pads. In the first sudden death round, Corey Perry came in wide, and slipped it by Nabokov. The unlikely hero, Captain Patrick Marleau, put one low stickside on Giguere that hit all three posts and ever so slightly trickled in. Bobby Ryan ripped one wide of the net, unlikely shooter Patrick Rissmiller, put one in Giguere's chest, Chris Kunitz also ripped one wide of the net, and Jumbo, better known as Joe Thornton, finished off the skills competition for the Sharks by going where Marleau went, low stickside, beating the oversized marshmellow, and earning the Sharks the extra point.

Much can be said about the return of Scott Niedermayer, but for Sharks fans, the most important part is when he decided to return. His season debut was Sunday against the Sharks, tonight is round 2, when the Ducks visit the Tank (7:30). Round 3 comes Saturday night, also in San Jose, but we'll cover that one later. Tonight's game brings the Ducks back to San Jose since they left here with a 2-1 Shootout victory on November 17th. The teams have split the games in Anaheim, giving the Ducks the 2-1 season edge, with all three contests being decided by the shootout. Tonight's game should be yet another doozy, being hard hitting, strongly defended, and greatly goaltended. NHL On the Fly (on the NHL Network) has dubbed tonight's game "guaranteed shootout night", I would love to see them be wrong (of course, if it means a Sharks win, I guess I'll take it).

GO SHARKS ("DUCKS SUCK" quack quack)


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