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Sharks jump out early, shut out Ducks

The SportsXchange

SAN JOSE. Calif. -- All Tommy Wingels was asked to do was defend against Anaheim's top line that features Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Wingels did what he was asked and delivered much more.

Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns and Wingels each scored goals, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-0 Wednesday.

Wingels also was credited with two assists, earning his first multipoint game of the season.

"He's a real good player when he's doing certain things," Sharks' coach Todd McLellan said. "Tommy accepted it and played well. He had a great night."

Antii Niemi stopped 22 shots to record his second shutout of the season as the Sharks beat the Ducks for the second straight game, and won their third in four games to maintain their spot in the Western Conference's final playoff position.

"We played a lot of time in the offensive zone," Sharks defender Ryane Clowe said. "The way we used guys was productive. We haven't had the ability to breathe a little bit in a game for a long time. The wins have been shootout wins or one-goal wins. This was nice, but back to work tomorrow."

Jonas Hiller recovered from a slow start to record 25 saves, though it wasn't enough to stop the Ducks from losing their fourth straight.

"We knew they would be coming hard again and we were just not ready again," Hiller said. "I wish we knew the issue. It's frustrating to talk about it and then we just don't do it. We have to change something."

The Ducks, who finished the regular-season series with San Jose, still have a solid grasp on the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference, but their recent slide has exposed a few holes.

"You can't get behind 2-0, 3-0, in the first period consistently and expect to win," Ducks' coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It catches up to you. Every team in the NHL sees this and knows 'let's get the Ducks in the first five minutes, they're not ready.' We were a 20-man team when we were successful. We can't do it with 10-12 guys and the rest going through the motions."

The Sharks struck early, just as they did in Monday's 5-3 win in Anaheim.

One minute into Wednesday's game, Pavelski collected a goal in his second straight game. He had just ended an eight-game scoreless streak and a 10-game streak without a goal.

Clowe kept the puck alive along the boards and sent it around the back of the net, where T.J. Galiardi pushed it up to Pavelski, who hooked a shot past Hiller.

"We should feel good about ourselves, but we'll be tested tomorrow," Clowe said. "I think you earn the right to be confident. You earn the right to have a swagger. The last few games we've worked hard, we found ways to win, and if we continue that, the confidence will just grow."

Clowe was involved in a fight with Anaheim's Bryan Allen minutes later. Allen took exception to seeing a teammate getting hit from behind by Clowe against the boards.

Allen's actions failed to motivate the Ducks, who gave up another goal a minute after the confrontation. Logan Couture skated the puck out of danger after winning it in the corner. He set up Marleau for a one-timer to make it 2-0 less than five minutes into the contest.

Marleau had not recorded a point in his previous three games.

Midway through the first period, Scott Gomez took a shot that bounded free. Martin Havlat tried to punch it in. Hiller failed to gain control before Wingels cleared it to Burns, who fired into the net as Hiller was blocked from view.

Boudreau immediately called a timeout and lit into his players. It seemed to help, as the defense stiffened behind a concerted effort from Francois Beauchemin, who was not on the ice for any of the first three goals.

"I just said what it was and sometimes the truth hurts," Boudreau said. "We had a good morning skate and thought we were focused. We need to get to the crux of the matter sooner rather than later."

Wingels capped the scoring with a short-handed goal 6:44 into the third period.

The Sharks remain at home to face the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night, while the Ducks head for Western Conference-leading Chicago for a game Friday. San Jose is three points behind the Red Wings, with a game in hand, for the fifth playoff spot.

NOTES: Before the current losing streak, the Ducks had recorded points in 18 of their previous 19 games, including 14 wins. ... The Ducks opened a four-game road trip Wednesday that takes them to Chicago, Columbus and Dallas. ... Between April 1 and April 5, the Ducks and Stars meet three consecutive times. ... The Sharks play their next six games at home, where they are 8-1-4 on the season. ... Burns scored his fourth goal in seven games since returning from injury, and recorded his ninth point. ... Instead of just a travel day Thursday, the Ducks will now practice when they arrive in Chicago.
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