The Anaheim Ducks entered the Tank, made it boring and capitalized on some missed chances by San Jose to beat the Sharks in Game One, 2-0.
Late in the third period with the Sharks fresh off a power play, Ryan Getzlaf exited the penalty box to score the Ducks second goal of the game, a killer after the kill at 17:35. As time ran out, boos rang out in the Tank.
With Jonathan Cheechoo in the box serving a tripping penalty, Anaheim’s Scott Niedermayer rattled a power play goal past Evgeni Nabokov to give the Ducks the game’s first lead at 5:18 in the third period.
It’s obvious that San Jose is the better, faster, more high-powered team, but the Ducks made plenty it clear they will do what it takes to stymie the Sharks and coat the ice in molasses.
For the first two periods, the Ducks were giving San Jose the run around.
The Sharks outshot the Ducks 2-to-1 heading into the third period (22-to-11 shots on goal) and it was becoming apparent that Anaheim must have dusted off DVDs of the Sharks/Stars series from last year.
The Ducks were proficient at eliminating space while not being over aggressive, while the Sharks had several great chances on goal that Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller either kicked out or smothered in his first ever NHL playoff game.
Former Shark, Teemu Selanne of the Ducks, gave San Jose fans something of an unwanted flashback late in the second as he missed an open goal -- a somewhat sad reminder you’ll recall of that brutal game in Denver -- the open net miss in the 2002 playoffs when the Sharks lost to Colorado.
Douglas Murray electrified the crowd with a few monster hits to start the game but the bone crushers subsided and Anaheim took to mucking up the game.
This is the first pairing of California teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs since 1969, when the L.A. Kings beat the Oakland Seals in the first round.
Laurence Scott will have more from Game Two at the Tank on Sunday night.