ANAHEIM, Calif. – San Jose forward Travis Moen knew the Anaheim Ducks planned to show highlights of his career on the scoreboard during his return to Anaheim.
He didn’t know he would add a whole new highlight.
After receiving a video tribute from his former team and an enthusiastic ovation from the crowd, Moen scored a second-period goal to help the Sharks beat the Ducks 1-0 on Sunday night. Evgeni Nabokov made 34 saves for his sixth shutout of the season to help San Jose reach 100 points and clinch a playoff spot.
Moen positioned himself just outside the crease and deflected Jamie McGinn’s backhander past goalie Jonas Hiller with 1:05 left in the second period.
“It’s nice to win, coming back that was the main goal, get two points and have fun,” Moen said.
He has two goals since he and defenceman Kent Huskins were traded from Anaheim to San Jose in a March 4 deal that brought two prospects and a 2011 conditional fourth-round draft pick to the Ducks.
Moen generally skated on the Ducks’ top defensive line during his four seasons with the team. He was highly effective in that role during Anaheim’s Stanley Cup championship run in 2007, scoring seven goals in 21 playoff games while defending against the opposition’s top forwards.
“Looking back there were a lot of fun times,” Moen said.
Nabokov made 12 saves in the third period to secure the win, his second in two days after missing seven games because of an upper-body injury.
“You are never fresh, you’re always tired, but it’s not different than any other game,” said Nabokov, who has 46 career shutouts. “It’s the end of the season, not the beginning. Everyone else is tired.”
The Sharks needed the strong goaltending effort Sunday. They have meandered through a 4-5-1 stretch over their past 10 games, surrendering the top spot in Western Conference to Detroit in the process.
“The effort was there tonight. It’s always good when the effort is there,” Nabokov said. “We killed penalties pretty well. It wasn’t an easy game but it was a road win.”
The Ducks have gone just 2-4-1 in their past seven games, failing to find a formula that will get them back into a playoff spot. Anaheim squandered four power-play chances, two in the final period.
“I think we did everything right except we couldn’t score any goals,” Ducks forward Teemu Selanne said. “Those guys have one of the best records in the league and we had no problem playing against them, so that is a good sign. We just have to stay confident. Wednesday (against Nashville) is another chance. We just have to keep pushing like this and we’re going to score a couple of goals.”
Hiller made 29 saves in his third consecutive start for Anaheim. He was at his best sprawling to make several saves as the Ducks shut down three San Jose power-play opportunities in the first two periods.
“Right now, every loss is bad for us. We didn’t deserve to lose today,” Hiller said. “I thought we played pretty well. But if you don’t score, it’s tough to win. They had some chances, but I think defensively we played pretty solid and we had some chances in their end.”
The game was the first meeting between the Pacific Division rivals since Dec. 11. They will play a home-and-home series April 4-5. The Sharks lead the season series 2-1.
Notes: Huskins, also a member of Anaheim’s 2007 championship team, didn’t make the trip with San Jose and will be honoured by the Ducks in an April 5 contest between the teams. … The Ducks assigned defenceman Brett Festerling to Iowa of the AHL.