Jonas Hiller continued his hot streak with another stellar performance in net for Anaheim, as the Ducks sank the Sharks at home in game two. Bobby Ryan, Andrew Ebbett and Drew Miller all scored their first career playoff goals, supporting Hiller, and helping the Ducks skate away from San Jose 2-0 in the series.
The pressure was on the shoulders of the Sharks to perform better after being shut out in game one by Anaheim. The San Jose faithful waited in anticipation for the Sharks to strike. A big sigh of relief filled HP Pavilion as the Sharks were finally able to get their first goal of the series passed Hiller in the second period. A spectacular second goal by Jonathan Cheechoo brought the Sharks within one in the third period after a big non call by the officials.
A clear pick put on the Ducks' Bobby Ryan in the Sharks defensive zone by Cheechoo was not called and lead to the Sharks forward scoring the second goal of the game. Perhaps if an NBA official were available, the correct call would have been made on the play. Still the Ducks prevailed and will return home to Honda Center up two games on the first seeded Sharks.
The Ducks were again on the short end of the stick, being called for six penalties and San Jose only being called for two. The end result was the same, as the Sharks again were unsuccessful converting on the man advantage while the Ducks were able to convert on one of their two opportunities. The Sharks were able to out shoot the Ducks again for the second game.
The Ducks are living dangerously as they continue to take tick tack penalties, but after close observation it is the non-calls by the referees that are disheartening. The Ducks have a reputation in the NHL as being dirty, and because of this I believe they are not judged fairly by most referees. They are so busy keeping an eye on the Ducks that they are missing clear penalties by the Sharks.This was evident on the pick on Bobby Ryan.
The referee's however did try to make things even in the third period. In an attempt to make amends after a bad elbowing call on Ducks forward Mike Brown, Sharks defenseman Rob Blake was called two minutes later for holding. Ironically enough he held Brown. I agree with Blake that it was a soft call, but the referees clearly made the call to make up for the earlier bad call.
I can understand that not everything can be seen by the two referees, but some consistency would be nice to see during the playoffs.
More annoyingly, tonight were not the referees but the linesman who continually threw out both Shark and Duck centers from the face off circles. On numerous occasions, linesman crouched frozen taking longer than usual to drop the puck. The crowd of 17,000 plus felt the same way I did, wanting them to just drop the puck all ready. It's play like this that get players worked up and on edge. Just drop the puck and let them play!