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Anaheim Ducks blank San Jose Sharks again to take 3-1 series lead - Metro US

Anaheim Ducks blank San Jose Sharks again to take 3-1 series lead

ANAHEIM, Calif. — While Bobby Ryan blossoms into a big-time playoff
scorer for the Anaheim Ducks, the top-seeded San Jose Sharks are
wilting.

Anaheim’s remarkable rookie scored two goals, Jonas Hiller made 31
saves in his second playoff shutout, and the Ducks rocked their rivals
yet again, winning 4-0 Thursday night to take a 3-1 lead in the
first-round series.

Corey Perry had a late goal and an assist, and Ryan Getzlaf added two
assists for the Ducks, who emphatically moved within one game of
becoming the eighth No. 8 seed to win an NHL playoff series since 1994.

Ryan, the Ducks’ 22-year-old Calder Trophy finalist, scored twice in a
3:40 span of the second period, giving him four goals in the four-game
series. Anaheim then clamped down on Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and
the Sharks’ top scorers, making Hiller’s job relatively easy.

Game 5 is Saturday night at the Shark Tank, where Anaheim already won twice in the series.

Ryan was the NHL’s rookie leader with 31 goals and 57 points despite
not joining the Ducks until mid-November, and he’s been just as good in
the post-season. He was selected a Calder Trophy finalist Wednesday,
although the modest American said he’d vote for Columbus goalie Steve
Mason.

Anaheim’s businesslike Game 4 win was the first in the series for a
home team. The Ducks never trailed in San Jose, and the Sharks took the
lead four times in their 4-3 win in Game 3 Tuesday night.

Evgeni Nabokov made 22 saves in another unspectacular effort for the
Sharks. They won the Presidents’ Trophy with a franchise-best 117
points, but they’re now one game away from the worst post-season flop
yet in a recent history full of embarrassing faceplants.

San Jose was knocked out in the second round in each of the past three
seasons, leading to coach Ron Wilson’s firing. The Sharks have never
advanced past the conference finals during five consecutive playoff
appearances — and unless their top two lines awaken from their
four-game slumber, the franchise could be in for a wholesale overhaul.

Ryan, a former No. 2 overall pick, played poorly in two post-season
games for the Ducks last year against Dallas, and he didn’t make
Anaheim’s roster out of training camp because of the team’s salary-cap
problems.

He finally made it to Anaheim by the regular season’s 19th game, and
eventually became a dependable scorer on a line with Getzlaf and Perry,
posting three multiple-goal games in the Ducks’ final seven
regular-season contests as they squeaked into the playoffs.

Ryan opened Game 4’s scoring early in the second period, dangling in
the slot before beating Nabokov. Ryan was serenaded with chants of
“Bobby! Bobby!’’ — and moments later, his errant stick broke a pane of
glass between the benches, causing a roughly 20-minute delay while it
was replaced.

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