Ducks defeat Sharks for Pacific title

By From page B8 | April 10, 2014

ANAHEIM — Patrick Maroon scored two goals, John Gibson made 36 saves in his second NHL start, and the Anaheim Ducks clinched their second straight Pacific Division title with a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.

Corey Perry scored his 43rd goal as the Ducks finished off the second-place Sharks with a three-goal third period to earn the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history.

Jason Demers and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks, who have lost four of six down the stretch. Antti Niemi allowed three goals on 19 shots before getting pulled.

Matt Beleskey also scored for the Ducks as they pushed one point ahead of St. Louis for the overall lead in the Western Conference, although the Blues have a game in hand.

San Jose could have pulled within one point of the Ducks with a regulation victory, but Alex Stalock replaced Niemi midway through the second period after Maroon scored the tiebreaking goal on a stoppable shot through his legs.

The Sharks are locked into a first-round playoff rematch with the Los Angeles Kings, who eliminated them in a bruising seven-game series in the second round last spring. The California rivals are meeting in the postseason for the third time in four years.

The Ducks led the overall NHL standings for much of the season until St. Louis and San Jose pushed ahead of them last month. Anaheim reclaimed the lead two weeks ago and finally finished off the Sharks, who are in the playoffs for the 10th straight season.

The Associated Press

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