PREVIEW: San Jose Sharks hope to build on win in rematch with Ducks

Feb 5, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) blocks a shot against San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane (9) as center Logan Couture (39) moves in for the rebound during the overtime period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After going the distance late into Friday night, the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks will not have to wait long for the rematch in Southern California.

The Sharks earned a 5-4 shootout victory when San Jose’s Kevin Labanc forced his game-winning shot into and out of the outstretched glove of Ducks goaltender John Gibson.

The victory came in San Jose’s first game in eight days.

The Sharks overwhelmed the Ducks with their faster tempo from the outset of the third period and erased a two-goal deficit. The game was tied in a blink as Logan Couture scored 39 seconds into the final period and Evander Kane made it 3-3 at 2:06 of the third.

The Sharks moved in front 4-3 six minutes later on a goal from Brent Burns.

Read More: RECAP: San Jose Sharks edge Ducks in shootout after back-and-forth game

It figured to be a demoralizing turn of events for the Ducks, who have not scored more than three goals in a game all season, but Max Comtois made it 4-4 with less than nine minutes remaining by scoring his second goal of the night. The Ducks would not score again, even in two rounds during the shootout.

Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play, but Kane’s game-tying goal came with the Sharks short-handed.

“To come out minus one (goal) on the power play, that’s never good,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “We’ve got to find a way to bury teams when we have the power play. It can’t just be two minutes where we have an extra guy and nothing happens.”

The Ducks have converted on just 7.4 percent of their power plays, 30th in the 31-team NHL. The Sharks have the sixth-best penalty kill at 85.3 percent.

The victory helped end a rough 11-day stretch in which the Sharks lost twice to the Colorado Avalanche and had two games against the Vegas Golden Knights postponed.

Matt Nieto also scored a goal for the Sharks while Kane and Burns each had an assist. In his NHL debut, Alexander Chmelevski had six minutes of ice time and delivered a secondary assist on Nieto’s first-period goal.

According to the NHL, Chmelevski (Newport Beach) and Nieto (Long Beach) were the third pair of California-native teammates to earn a point on the same goal, and the second this week. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jason Zucker (Newport Beach) and Chad Ruhwedel (San Diego) did it Monday.

After Saturday’s game at Anaheim, followed by two more at Los Angeles, the Sharks finally will play their first game at San Jose this season. They will take on the Vegas Golden Knights at home on Feb. 13 in a game that originally was supposed to be against the Ducks before the schedule was altered.

Saturday will be the first time the Sharks have had to play on consecutive days, although a run of 12 consecutive road games to start the season hardly makes them a benefactor of the early schedule.

“We understand that we still have 28 home games remaining and we understand that we need to get points on this road trip so we can take advantage of the second part of our schedule,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “We’re the only team that hasn’t played a home game yet, and we’ll be getting through 12 (road) games before we experience that.”

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–Field Level Media