Ducks show off resilient play in victory over rival Sharks

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ANAHEIM — There was a relentless quality to the Ducks’ play Saturday during their 3-1 victory over the rival San Jose Sharks at Honda Center. You could see it when they chased down loose pucks in the corners and at center ice. You could see it as they pressured the Sharks from one end of the rink to the other.

One sequence summed it all up in one tidy package in the pivotal second period, after the Ducks had given up the tying goal and they could have succumbed to the frustration and lack of confidence that plagued them so frequently last season.

Josh Manson settled down the play in his own end of the ice, passing the puck to defense partner Hampus Lindholm, who passed it ahead to Ondrej Kase at the defensive blue line, and then Kase passed it ahead to a streaking Ryan Getzlaf at the attacking blue line.

Wait, Getzlaf streaking?

It was true.

It happened in a flash.

The Ducks’ 34-year-old center got a step on the Sharks’ defense and raced in to restore the lead.

A little more than a minute passed from the time Logan Couture scored for the Sharks and Getzlaf countered for the Ducks. Instead of letting down after Couture’s goal, the Ducks regrouped, applying the sort of pressure they had absorbed in the past.

The Sharks, not the Ducks, were the vulnerable team. San Jose was thumped twice by the Vegas Golden Knights to start the season, including by 5-1 on Friday, and had trouble keeping pace with the fresher Ducks. Getzlaf and the Ducks feasted on the Sharks’ flatfooted play.

“I thought we did a good job of responding tonight after the goal,” Adam Henrique said, referring to Getzlaf’s charge down the ice to score. “Right from the D-zone, Kase to Getzlaf and Getzlaf made a great play. I think that was a key for us tonight.”

In the closing minutes, after the Ducks were penalized for having too many men on the ice, goaltender John Gibson came up with several key stops and the Sharks were turned away repeatedly. Gibson made 35 saves and has stopped 67 of 69 shots in two victories to start the season.

“He’s been incredible through the first two games,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said of Gibson. “He’s been our best penalty-killer.”

Nicolas Deslauriers made his Ducks debut as Eakins altered his lineup after Thursday’s opening-night win over the Arizona Coyotes. Deslauriers brought Ducks fans to their feet with a spirited first-period fight with the Sharks’ Brenden Dillon.

Another lineup change resulted in Michael Del Zotto replacing Korbinian Hozler in the Ducks’ third defense pair. The move paid dividends when Del Zotto scored only 3:38 into the game, after an alert pass from Kase, following goalie Aaron Dell’s misplay with the puck behind the net.

The Ducks held a one-goal lead until Erik Karlsson fed a pass to a circling Couture in the right faceoff circle and Couture beat Gibson to tie it 1-1 at 5:44 of the second period. The Sharks’ goal came moments after the Ducks had been pressing for a second goal.

Kase then set up Getzlaf for the tiebreaking strike with a pass that freed the Ducks’ captain from the trailing Sharks. Getzlaf made one quick, decisive move and beat Dell to make it 2-1 at 6:51, crashing into the end boards with a thud that was drowned out by the roars of the crowd.

Henrique made it 3-1 at 18:48 of the second, stripping the puck from San Jose’s Tomas Hertl in the neutral zone and then zipping past the Sharks’ Kevin Labanc before lifting a backhanded shot from point-blank range over Dell’s left shoulder. Dell had zero chance on the play.

“Getting up one, you want to get that next one,” Henrique said of the Ducks’ attitude after Getzlaf had given them a 2-1 lead. “You want to keep pushing. You don’t want to sit back and allow them to come at us. You want to keep pushing. As a younger group, that’s something we have to learn.

“It will allow us to grow as a group.”