The Sharks jumped out to a 1-0 series lead in their first round tilt with the Anaheim Ducks, skating away with a 3-0 win in Game 1 Thursday night. Evander Kane (twice) and Brent Burns scored in the second period to give San Jose a three-goal lead, and one they would never relinquish.
The game, and the series, started slowly. The Ducks and Sharks combined for just 12 shots on goal in the first period, as Anaheim jumped out to a 12-9 five-on-five shot attempt advantage.
San Jose took control of the game back in the second, and finally got on the board as Anaheim's penalty parade persisted. Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Getzlaf went to the box for slashing 16 seconds apart, and Kane only needed 10 seconds to score his first-ever goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs on the ensuing five-on-three.
He added another just under seven minutes later, tapping in a saucer pass from Joe Pavelski on a two-on-one following a bad Ducks line change. Burns' seeing-eye point shot beat Gibson five-hole 1:24 later, and the Sharks took a three-goal lead into the third period that would stand until the end of regulation.
Kane waited nine seasons and 574 games to get to the postseason, but only needed one game to find the back of the net. He scored two goals in a 6:44 span in the second period, and finished second on the Sharks with six shots on goal.
The winger all but put the game away with his second playoff goal. Dating back to the regular season, he's now scored 11 goals in 18 games.
San Jose: 1-for-6 on the power play, 3-for-3 on the penalty kill
Anaheim: 0-for-3 on the power play; 5-for-6 on the penalty kill
The Ducks finished the regular season with a league-worst minus-60 penalty differential. They were minus-three tonight, and Kane's power play goal stood as the game-winner.
Sharks: Martin Jones opened his third postseason as a starter with his fifth playoff shutout, stopping all 24 Anaheim shots. Jones wasn't challenged much, but made a key save in the first period, stretching his glove to deny Hampus Lindholm after fluky bounce left the puck on a platter.
Ducks: In his first game back from injury, Gibson didn't live up to his usual standards. He stopped 30 of 33 shots, including 19 of 21 five-on-five. If Anaheim continues to cede puck possession at even strength, he'll need to turn it around.
A dominant second period gave San Jose breathing room. The Sharks scored three goals, and put the game away.
Two of those goals came during five-on-five play, where they out-attempted the Ducks 20-11 and outshot them 10-3. San Jose managed a plus-18 goal differential in the second period this season, while Anaheim was just plus-seven, and that disparity played out on Thursday.
Sharks: Joe Thornton (sprained right MCL) participated in warm-ups, but did not suit up. San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer would not rule out Thornton beyond Game 1 of the first round.
Dylan Gambrell, Barlcay Goodrow, Jannik Hansen, Joakim Ryan, and Joel Ward were scratched, as was 'black ace' Maxim Letunov and third-string goaltender Antoine Bibeau.
Ducks: Goaltender John Gibson (upper-body) returned to Anaheim's lineup after missing the final three games of the season. Defenseman Kevin Bieksa (hand) skated in practice this week, but did not return to the lineup.
Defenseman Cam Fowler (shoulder) missed his fourth straight game, while blueliner Korbinian Holzer and forwards Jason Chimera, Chris Kelly, Troy Terry were scratched.
The puck drops for Game 2 on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Coverage begins on NBC Sports California at 7 p.m.