The San Jose Sharks shutout the Anaheim Ducks for a 3-0 win to take Game 1 of the battle of California. The Sharks played an almost perfect game the entire night, capitalized at the right time and never looked back.
The game took a while to get going, as both teams were feeling each other out for much of the first period. It was evident that the Ducks wanted to set the tone early with their physical play (16 hits in the first period).
Meanwhile, San Jose was more focused on using their speed and skills to try to lure their opponents into taking penalties.
John Gibson was the story of early on, as he made several big saves to keep the score even heading into the intermission.
Sharks take over
The second period was pretty evenly matched until Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Getzlaf took back-to-back penalties, 16 seconds apart. That gave San Jose almost two-minutes of 5-on-3 hockey.
The Sharks took full-advantage, as Evander Kane beat John Gibson clean with a nice wrist shot from the slot on the power play to score his first career NHL playoff goal.
Kane wasn't done yet, as he finished off a nice set-up from captain Joe Pavelski less than seven minutes later to give the Sharks a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Finally, less than two minutes later the Sharks struck again, as Brent Burns extended the lead for his team scoring on a harmless looking shot from the point. This pretty much sucked the life out of the Honda Center and gave the Sharks a huge advantage heading into the final 20 minutes.
After taking a 3-0 lead into the second intermission, Peter DeBoer and the Sharks had a sound game-plan heading into the third.
They clogged up the neutral zone, got the puck of out danger and did not allow the Ducks to gain any momentum offensively.
The Sharks were in full lock-down mode and put on a defensive clinic by taking away Anaheim's time and space with the puck.
Anaheim looked frustrated early on and pretty much called it a night by the mid-way point of the period.
Evander Kane was definitely the story of the night! The 10-year NHL veteran had a very memorable playoff debut, scoring two goals including the game-winner to help San Jose take Game 1.
Goaltender Martin Jones was solid all-night, making things look easy as he turned away 25 saves to earn his fifth career shutout in the playoffs.
The Anaheim Ducks were physical all night but could not find a way to generate and sustain offensive pressure. The penalties didn't help either as the Ducks accumulated 14 minutes in total, including two interference calls on Ryan Kesler.
The Ducks are not out of this series by any means but they will need to come together with a better game plan and will have to find a way to get through the defense and score on Martin Jones.
Game 2 will be crucial for the Ducks!
If they lose another one at home, the odds will be significantly stacked against them... as winning four of the next five games and three of them in the Shark tank will be a tall order.
What did you think of Game 1? Let us know in the comments below.