Sharks Sending Ducks Into Spiral by Capitalizing on Mistakes

The final score of the Sharks' Game 3 win on Monday, 8-1, resoundingly favored San Jose. It flattered them, even. 

Game 3 was closer than the Anaheim Ducks' seven-goal defeat would indicate. In a second period that was initially tied at one, Anaheim attempted 27 five-on-five shots, and failed to score. San Jose attempted 17, and scored on two of its first three. The Sharks added two more goals in the back half of the period, and turned a close contest into a lopsided laugher. 

That's not to say the win, or the margin of victory, was undeserved. Neither is San Jose's 3-0 series lead. Far from it, in fact. As has been the case each game, the Sharks punished the Ducks for their mistakes.

In Game 1, San Jose exploited on Anaheim's periodic penalties for the goal that stood as the game-winner. 

In Game 2, the Sharks scored twice off of the Ducks' inability to clear their own end, and the game-winner by beating the Ducks forecheck. 

In Game 3, they did all of that. And then some. 

It was a bad enough sign for Anaheim that all four of San Jose's first four goals came in transition. It was a worse sign that the next four came on the power play as a veteran squad came unglued. 

In the final 26:32 of regulation, the Ducks took nine penalties, five of which were committed by Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler. All three players wear letters for Anaheim, and all three players have combined for more minor penalties (11) than points (four). Getzlaf, the captain, now leads the league in postseason penalty minutes. 

The Ducks have tried so desperately to get under the Sharks' skin this series that they've only managed to get under their own. Anaheim's tried to take a page out of the playbook from its 2009 upset of President's Trophy-winning San Jose, and attempted to intimidate its way out of the first round. 

Never mind that the Sharks have a different coach, and only two active players in Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (Joe Thornton's not yet played this postseason) that suited up in the last series between these two teams a decade ago, Randy Carlyle's Ducks have clung desperately to their past in the hopes of advancing. Those pangs arguably prompted Anaheim to re-hire Carlyle in the first place, following the half-decade of heartbreak under Bruce Boudreau. 

San Jose, meanwhile, has an eye towards the future, playing with the skill and speed the modern NHL necessitates. Such an approach has enabled the Sharks to clinically capitalize on the Ducks' mistakes, ultimately sending their division rivals into a spiral that's all but ended the series.

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