Sharks' Pavelski comes through in shootout

Ross McKeon, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Center Joe Pavelski went from goat to hero on Saturday night.
After losing a late faceoff leading to Anaheim's tying goal, Pavelski was the only player to convert in the shootout as the San Jose Sharks edged the Anaheim Ducks 4-3.
San Jose's fifth straight win capped a perfect homestand that after wins over Tampa Bay and New Jersey included an especially impressive run of three victories over Western Conference powers Los Angeles, St. Louis and Anaheim in the span of four nights.
"It's our last game at home for a while and it's nice to get the two points," Sharks center Joe Thornton said.
Sharks goalie Antti Niemi denied center Nick Bonino, right winger Corey Perry and center Kyle Palmieri to win a second shootout in three games. In addition, San Jose took a one-point lead over Anaheim for the Pacific Division lead, 41-40.
"We never quit, we kept coming back at them," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We can take a little confidence away. But we played a lot of the game as if we were in awe of them."
Anaheim scored twice within a 4:04 span late in the third period to tie it.
"I thought it was a great effort to make a comeback in the third," Ducks goalie Jonus Hiller said.
Anaheim defenseman Alex Grant scored his first career goal at 12:50 during his NHL debut and fellow Duck defenseman Ben Lovejoy beat a screened Niemi at 16:54 after Bonino beat Pavelski in the circle.
"You're not going to win every draw, but it's what you do after a faceoff that matters, too," Sharks center Logan Couture said. "You have to get in shooting lanes."
The Sharks struck with a three-goal second to turn a 1-0 deficit after one period into a 3-1 lead after two.
Couture redirected defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic's drive from the left point past Hiller for his ninth goal of the season at 4:16 to tie the score.
With defenseman Justin Braun off for holding, the hosts scored short-handed for the third time this season with a big assist going to Hiller.
The Anaheim goalie came way out to play a puck that defenseman Cam Fowler couldn't hold in the San Jose zone, and under pressure from Thornton, Hiller tossed the puck to left winger Patrick Marleau, who scored at 10:13 into an empty net after trading passes with Thornton.
"I thought Jumbo was going to put it into the empty net, but being the passer he is he gave it back to me," Marleau said.
San Jose scored again late when right winger Martin Havlat patiently skated to the side of the net and lifted a backhand shot over a fallen Hiller with 56.2 seconds remaining after defenseman Scott Hannan's drive from the left point bounced off of right winger Mike Brown loose in front of Hiller.
The Sharks outshot the Ducks 12-8 during the opening 20 minutes but trailed 1-0 at the intermission.
San Jose had two power plays and managed a combined five shots during the four minutes of five-on-four skating, but couldn't solve Hiller.
The Ducks scored at 5:56 when right winger Corey Perry snuck behind the San Jose defense on a line change and beat Niemi with a shot over the left glove. Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf threaded a perfect pass between San Jose defensemen Jason Demers and Hannan, who didn't see Perry slip behind them.
The Sharks had a scare early on when a puck deflected off the stick of right winger Tomas Hertl into the face of Thornton less than two minutes after the opening faceoff. The Sharks' captain returned at mid-period with stitches to his right eyebrow.
"It's just what hockey players do," Thornton said. "Bumps and bruises and come right back out there."
NOTES: Rivals San Jose and Anaheim met for the first time this season on Saturday. The Ducks brought a 6-0-0 record against Pacific foes into the game while the Sharks were 8-1-2 vs. division opponents. ... Anaheim RW Teemu Selanne did not make the trip. The 43-year-old one-time Sharks sniper has been skipping the second of back-to-backs this season. ... D Nolan Yonkman and D Bryan Allen were healthy scratches while D Sheldon Souray (right wrist), RW Jakob Silfverberg (broken hand), D Francois Beauchemin (upper body), D Luca Sbisa (right wrist) and G Viktor Fasth (lower body) remain out for the Ducks. ... LW James Sheppard, RW Matt Pelech and D Matt Irwin did not dress for San Jose. ... The Sharks embark on a four-game road trip that includes stops in Toronto, Pittsburgh, Carolina and St. Paul, Minn., as they'll be on the road for nine of December's 14 games. ... The Ducks continue a challenging stretch with a home game against Los Angeles on Tuesday before playing back-to-backs in Chicago and St. Louis next Friday and Saturday.

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