How Sharks overcame ‘awful’ second period to beat Ducks in shootout

How Sharks recovered from ‘horrible’ 2nd to beat Ducks initially appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Sharks were not a delighted lot heading into the 2nd intermission of Friday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Anaheim Ducks, and neither were their coaches.

San Jose followed up among its finest durations of the season with among its worst, going into the checking out locker space at Honda Center dealing with a 3-1 deficit. The Sharks when again sank in the 2nd duration, with their objective differential in the center frame ballooning to minus-12 after Max Comtois put Anaheim up 2 objectives.

Defenseman Brent Burns stated it was “just awful.” Captain Logan Couture stated the Sharks “[stunk] it up for a spurt.”

And in between the 2nd and 3rd durations, Coach Bob Boughner made his discontentment understood.

“You come in after that period, and you challenge guys,” Boughner informed press reporters in a postgame video conference. “Some of our best players have to be a little better, and I’m not gonna pinpoint ’em out in the media, but there’s guys in there that have a lot more to give, and they got challenged in between periods.

“It was time to look ourselves in the mirror a bit, and it’s a gut check and they reacted. Provide ’em credit. We came out [strong], and it began with [Logan Couture’s] line.”

Couture made it 3-2 when he crashed the net following Evander Kane’s power move, burying a rebound just 39 seconds into the third period. Not even 90 seconds later, Kane chipped a puck past Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm in the defensive on the penalty kill and snapped a short-handed shot just under John Gibson’s blocker on the other end.

Two minutes and six seconds after taking the ice for the third period, the Sharks and Ducks were all square.

“We got challenged by our coaches in between the 2nd and 3rd, and we sort of challenged each other,” Couture told reporters. “We understood that that wasn’t sufficient. We understand the value of this stretch of video games today. … It was time to buckle up. It is difficult that it needed to concern that, to getting chewed out a bit in between the 2nd and 3rd, however often you require that.”

Defenseman Brent Burns gave the Sharks a 4-3 lead just shy of six minutes after Kane’s goal, capitalizing on an out-of-position Gibson after he turned the puck over beneath the goal line.

The Sharks were on the front foot for the first half of the third period, but the Ducks pushed hard for the tying goal — and got it, thanks again to Comtois — down the stretch. Anaheim had six high-danger 5-on-5 chances during the final frame to San Jose’s two, according to Natural Stat Trick, and a 9-4 edge in all-situations high-danger chances between the third period and overtime.

Goaltender Martin Jones was up to the task in the shootout, denying Rickard Rakell and Comtois for his seventh and eighth consecutive saves in the shootout, respectively, since allowing a goal on the first shootout attempt he faced in the season opener. Ryan Donato and Kevin Labanc, using similar moves, both beat Gibson in the shootout, and the Sharks improved to 4-5-0.

“It’s hockey, there’s a great deal of insane things that take place,” Burns said. “It’s a video game of inches [and] bounces, and certainly objectives can alter things. Cooch scoring that huge objective altered it back to us after an excellent very first and a dreadful second.”

RELATED: Sharks’ Labanc copied Donato on game-winning shootout goal

Three of the Sharks’ four wins have come in shootouts, meaning divisional opponents have picked up three points in those victories and those don’t count toward the primary playoff tiebreaker (regulation and overtime wins, or ROW).

Still, Friday’s win was San Jose’s ninth of what are 12 now consecutive away games to open the season, a combination of since-lifted coronavirus restrictions in Santa Clara County and COVID-19-related postponements of two of the Sharks’ games. With another win Saturday in Anaheim, the Sharks can move to .500 and just two points back of the Minnesota Wild for the West Division’s fourth and final playoff spot with a game in hand.

The Sharks’ second periods need cleaning up, as does their overall 5-on-5 play. But considering how close San Jose seemed to coming up empty-handed after 40 minutes, ending the night with two points was a welcome relief.

“On the roadway, 9 in a row, we’ll take the points any method we can get ’em today,” Couture stated.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.