ANAHEIM, Calif. – The San Jose Sharks responded to a longtime teammate’s departure with an effort that showed it’s far too early to give up on their season.
Brent Burns and Martin Havlat each had a goal and an assist, and the Sharks beat the Ducks 5-3 Monday night to send Anaheim to its third home loss in four days.
Havlat snapped a 15-game goal drought, Joe Pavelski scored just his second goal in 19 games and added a late assist, and James Sheppard scored his first goal of the season with 9:56 to play in San Jose’s final stop on a five-game trip.
The Sharks had plenty of jump in their first game since trading veteran Swedish defenceman Douglas Murray to Pittsburgh earlier in the day for two second-round draft picks, ending his eight-year tenure in San Jose and possibly compromising the Sharks’ current season to boost their future.
“I guess you could say it’s a difficult day,” said Logan Couture, whose apparent third-period goal was disallowed. “Losing a teammate is tough, but we had one of our better games. We finally put it together for the majority of the game. We really took it to them and controlled the majority of the game.”
The Sharks might need more of that businesslike attitude to make the playoffs for the 14th time in 15 seasons. They haven’t been able to recapture the dominance of their 7-0-0 start, losing seven of nine before this victory in one of the NHL’s toughest road arenas.
“We’re all pros. It doesn’t matter who gets traded,” said Thornton, the Sharks’ captain. “We know we have to come out and play, and we knew they had back-to-back games.”
Antti Niemi stopped 24 shots for San Jose, which took a 3-0 lead before holding on in the second of three meetings in 10 days for the California rivals. The Ducks beat San Jose 5-3 a week ago, and they’ll meet at the Shark Tank in two days when San Jose opens a seven-game homestand.
“You’ve got to take points any time you can get them,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “Proud of the way we responded and how prepared we were. We’ve got to make some hay (on the homestand). We’ve got to put together a string, and it starts with (Anaheim).”
Emerson Etem scored his second career goal and Francois Beauchemin also scored for the Ducks, who wrapped up a string of five home games in eight days with their first three-game skid of the season. Corey Perry scored for Anaheim with 1:40 to play, but Dan Boyle scored on an empty net for San Jose with 28 seconds left.
“There’s always peaks and valleys, and we’re trying to get out of this valley as quick as possible and start climbing back in the right direction,” Perry said. “We didn’t start well, and eventually it caught up to us. You don’t like losing at home, but if we play the same way we played in the second half of the game, we’re going to be successful.”
Viktor Fasth made 34 saves for the Ducks, who have hit the first skid in their remarkable season.
The Ducks have followed up their triumphant win over NHL-leading Chicago last Wednesday with three consecutive losses, including back-to-back defeats from Detroit by a combined 7-2 over the previous three days. Anaheim had won a franchise-record 13 straight home games before its current slump.
“We just haven’t been anywhere near ourselves, and we haven’t been for the last few games,” Anaheim defenceman Sheldon Souray said. “I think we were soft in a lot of areas. They out-battled us in a lot of areas. They won a lot of the one-on-one battles, and they beat us at our own game.”
The Sharks led 2-0 just 7:10 in on goals from Burns and Pavelski, who pounced for just his second goal since Feb. 11 when Sheppard jarred the puck loose from Perry in the slot. Havlat then scored just his fourth goal of the season on a long rebound in the slot in the opening minute of the second period, setting off scattered boos at Honda Center.
The Ducks finally answered midway through the period when the 20-year-old Etem got credit for a goal that went off the body of Sharks defenceman Brad Stuart. Beauchemin scored in the opening minute of the third period, firing a top-corner shot off a sharp setup by captain Ryan Getzlaf.
NOTES: Teemu Selanne didn’t score while appearing in his 1,373rd NHL game, surpassing Teppo Numminen’s record for Finnish players. … Justin Braun took the lineup spot that likely would have been filled by Murray for the Sharks, who dressed seven defencemen. … New Anaheim RW Radek Dvorak arrived from Europe earlier Monday and cleared waivers, likely allowing him to join the Ducks’ lineup this week. The 36-year-old Czech will begin his 17th NHL season after playing 73 games for Dallas last year.