Unlikely scorers push Ducks to 12th straight home win
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks set a franchise record for the longest home winning streak Monday, and it wasn't the usual cast of players that helped lead the way to the mark.
Four of the Ducks' five goals came from a trio that entered the night with a combined total of three tallies, and Anaheim beat the San Jose Sharks 5-3 for its record-setting 12th consecutive home victory.
The old mark was set during the 2009-2010 season.
Anaheim's first three goals came from defenseman Francois Beauchemin and forwards Peter Holland and Emerson Etem. Beauchemin added an empty-net goal in the final minute.
Receiving contributions from multiple players wasn't a shock for Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.
"We've been getting them from different areas all year," Boudreau said. "It's a really good sign. The balance continues."
Beauchemin's first goal, however, caught some by surprise, including himself. At 14:06 of the first period, Beauchemin scored across the body of San Jose goalie Antii Niemi from the right side after a few fakes.
"I had a lot of time. I first looked to pass two or three times," Beauchemin said. "I finally went for the shot after three to four seconds."
The goals by Holland and Etem came within 34 seconds of one another in the middle of the second period. Etem collected the first goal of his NHL career, and he later recorded his sixth assist of the season.
"It felt great to contribute offensively," said Etem, a Southern California native from Long Beach. "I knew the goals would come. I just had to shoot more."
Even when the usual goal-scorers for the Ducks got involved, it wasn't under typical circumstances.
Two minutes and 12 seconds after Etem's goal, Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf pushed the lead to 4-1 with his team-high 11th goal of the season. It came when the Ducks were short-handed.
"We definitely put a good effort in. It was four or five minutes that dictated the game tonight," Sharks forward Joe Thornton said. "We fell asleep there for a couple minutes."
Getzlaf extended his home points streak to a career-high 11 games.
"We always want this building to be a tough place to come into," Getzlaf said of his team setting a home winning streak. "Our fans have shown it this year, and we've shown it. That's what we want to do down the stretch here. Keep winning our home games and win as many as you can on the road."
The Sharks remained in the game with goals in the final minute of both the first and second periods.
At 19:02 in the first, San Jose defenseman Jason Demers scored his first goal of the season tie the game 1-1. On the play, a group of Sharks and Ducks screened the vision of Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth. It was also Demers' first point of the season.
With 29 seconds left in the second period, San Jose's leading scorer, Patrick Marleau, collected his 15th on the season to slice the Sharks' deficit to 4-2.
The Sharks drew within 4-3 at the 6:48 mark in the third period when defenseman Matt Irwin knocked the puck in the net off another player. However, Beauchemin's second goal of the game sealed the outcome.
"That late goal got us within two there, and we came out in the third really strong," Marleau said. "We were playing really well after that, we just had a couple bad lapses there and they took advantage. There were a lot of good things, but we still have to clean up a lot of stuff."
Fasth made 32 saves to earn the win. Niemi stopped 23 shots.
San Jose coach Todd McLellan was critical of his team entering the game, but he found some positives.
"Effort was better, results are the same," McLellan said. "If we were looking for effort and banking on effort, it was there, but the results are the same. That's the disappointing part."
After the game, Ducks players downplayed any excitement about their matchup on Wednesday with the Chicago Blackhawks, who maintain the best record in the league.
"I'm in recovery mode right now," Getzlaf said. "I'll be eager tomorrow morning."
NOTES: The Ducks took sole possession of the longest active consecutive point streak in the league, one game ahead of the idle Columbus Blue Jackets, by earning a point in their 11th consecutive game. ... With an assist on Beauchemin's first-period goal, newly acquired Ducks forward David Steckel earned his first point with the team since his trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 15. ... Ducks forward Saku Koivu didn't collect a point, leaving him two points shy of 800 in his career. ... San Jose travels to Edmonton to play the Oilers on Wednesday. ... The Sharks and Ducks meet again March 25 at the end of Anaheim's current five-game homestand. The last meeting of the season between the teams will follow on March 27 in San Jose.
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