Tomas Hertl scored the winning goal 76 seconds after the Anaheim Ducks tied the game midway through third period, and San Jose goalie Martin Jones made 30 saves as the Sharks swept their California rivals with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night in San Jose.
Hertl first forced a Ryan Getzlaf giveaway that resulted in a point shot for Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and then deflected the puck into the net with 10:51 remaining in the game to the delight of the SAP Centre faithful. Hertl scored in his third consecutive game.
"First it hit my stick and maybe my body, too," Hertl said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "I didn't know for a second, but I saw (teammate Logan) Couture celebrating. It's a really great feeling, but I'm just happy for the win."
The Sharks, who will meet the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round, swept a playoff series for only the second time in franchise history.
"Any time you sweep a team it's a lot closer than you realize," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said, according to the Chronicle. "There were some key moments guys made some big plays. It definitely gives us confidence we can win."
Looking ahead to the matchup with the Golden Knights, who won the Pacific Division this year as an expansion team, Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said, "I haven't dove into them enough. We'll be heavy, heavy underdogs, and I hope you guys will write that."
San Jose's Marcus Sorensen also tallied for the third consecutive game, scoring at 5:43 of the opening period.
Sorensen was parked in front of the net when Ducks goalie John Gibson stopped a Brent Burns point shot. Sorensen denied on his first rebound attempt, during which he fell to the ice, but he regained his feet, made a nifty move to get the puck back to his stick and snapped his next opportunity into the cage.
Anaheim's Rickard Rakell thought he had tied the game 27 seconds into the third period, but Sharks coach Pete DeBoer successfully challenged the play as offside.
No review was necessary when Andrew Cogliano put the Ducks on the board with 12:07 remaining in the third period. Jakob Silfverberg won the battle on the boards to get the puck to Kesler, who promptly spied Cogliano in front of the net, and he made no mistake.
Jones was the difference-maker from start to finish, making all kinds of big saves late in all three periods. He denied Getzlaf in the opening frame, had Corey Perry looking to the sky in the final minute of the second period and then came up with a big stop on Brandon Montour before time expired.
The Sharks netminder also had a saved-by-the-horn moment at the end of the second period when Getzlaf slipped the puck into the net but it came less than one second after the period ended.
Gibson stopped 22 shots for the Ducks, who were last swept in a series by the Detroit Red Wings in 1999.
"Obviously, this was a much more competitive hockey game," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We did a lot of things we planned to do, and we didn't do them in the first three games. ... We were much more competitive around the net. Much more second and third opportunities. Cleaner with the puck. We played a much more aggressive, under-control game."
--Field Level Media