Couture, Jones lead Sharks past Ducks again on road, 3-2
By GREG BEACHAM
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Anaheim Ducks showed their embarrassment from their playoff-opening shutout loss with every bone-crunching hit they landed on the San Jose Sharks throughout Game 2.
The Sharks knew what to expect from their hard-nosed California rivals. Even after the Ducks scored in the opening minute, San Jose survived the storm quite well - and when Anaheim made minor mistakes, the Sharks capitalized for enough goals to take a major series lead back to San Jose.
Logan Couture had a goal and an assist, Martin Jones made 28 saves and the Sharks thrived on the road again, beating the Ducks 3-2 Saturday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Marcus Sorensen and Tomas Hertl also scored for the Sharks, who gave another disciplined, organized performance while moving halfway to their first playoff series victory since their Stanley Cup Final run in 2016.
"Nothing we haven't taken before," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said of the Ducks' physical style. "Maybe they are coming a little bit harder. Be poised. Make some plays. Stick to what we are trying to do."
They're not leaving Orange County without bruises, however: The Ducks attempted to make up for their listlessness in Game 1 with a series of big hits early in the rematch. Nick Ritchie, Hampus Lindholm and Francois Beauchemin all delivered early on, with Lindholm sending Game 1 hero Evander Kane to the bench with a mouth injury from an open-ice shoulder check.
"We didn't shrink," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "We stood in there. That's one thing about our group: We don't get pushed out of games. We didn't ask the referees to fix it. We stood in there and came out of the first period up 2-1."
Game 3 is Monday night in the Shark Tank.
Lindholm had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who are leaving Honda Center with an 0-2 series deficit for the third time in their last five playoff series. Jakob Silfverberg scored in the opening minute and John Gibson stopped 32 shots as Anaheim dropped to 3-6 in its last nine home playoff games overall.
"I know the resolve in our room," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "I guarantee you we're not going to lay down. We made some mistakes and basically gave them goals. When you gift things in the playoffs, you're usually going to end up on the wrong side of the score."
Anaheim undeniably showed more resolve and creativity than in its series-opening defeat, but its scorers still couldn't crack Jones and the San Jose defense when it counted. The Sharks' late-season slump hasn't hurt their ability to rise in the postseason, while the Ducks have retained little momentum from their ferocious second-half surge in the regular season.
But after getting shut out two days earlier, the Ducks scored on their first shot of Game 2. Just 40 seconds in, Silfverberg flung a long shot past a few defenders and got his 18th career postseason goal past Jones, who didn't appear to read it well.
The Sharks still evened it midway through the period when Brenden Dillon shot the puck off the back boards and it caromed perfectly to Sorensen at the far post for the tap-in. Couture then put San Jose ahead with a slick power-play score, badly faking Gibson before sliding home his 31st career playoff goal.
Honda Center grumbled when Hertl put the Sharks up 3-1 early in the second, and the Ducks finally responded with their first sustained stretch of control. Lindholm trimmed the deficit with a nasty wrist shot during a power play, and Perry barely missed tying it up moments later with his shot off the post.
"We have some strong shifts, then we take a couple off," Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour said. "We have some lapses, and they capitalized on those."
NOTES: Joe Thornton sat out again for San Jose. The 38-year-old center hasn't played since Jan. 23 after having right knee surgery. ... D Kevin Bieksa returned to the Ducks' lineup for his 86th career playoff game. He missed the past month recovering from hand surgery. ... Ducks D Cam Fowler missed his sixth straight game with a shoulder injury. He isn't likely to return for this series, depriving Anaheim of its top defenseman.
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Updated April 15, 2018