The Ducks played the San Jose Sharks as tough as anyone has recently — and still lost to kick off their six-game road trip at HP Pavilion. Matt Beleskey scored the Ducks’ lone goal, and Jonas Hiller stopped 22 of 24 in the loss.
With the game still scoreless entering the second period, a longMarc-Eduoard Vlasicslapshot created by a faceoff win, and a deflection in the slot by a fast-breaking Rob Blake, gave the Sharks a 2-0 lead.
Beleskey notched his fifth goal of the season at 1:15 of the third period to bring the Ducks within 2-1, taking a slick backhand pass from Kyle Chipchura and blasting a shot past Evgeni Nabokov in the slot. All of Beleskey’s goals have come in the month of January, and his five goals this month lead NHL rookies.
But the Ducks could not convert a pair of late power plays, including a tripping penalty that put Joe Thornton in the box for two minutes with 3:10 left in the game. Hiller was pulled for an extra attacker late in the 5-on-4, giving the Ducks six men on the ice for nearly 90 seconds to end the game.
Though they were able to create shots, none fooled Nabokov, and longtime Duck killer Patrick Marleau sealed the Sharks’ win by scoring into an empty net with 5.5 seconds left.
More details in tomorrow’s editions.