San Jose Sharks sweep Anaheim Ducks, keep momentum going

The San Jose Sharks have their first series sweep of the year as they continue to build momentum toward the midway point of the 56-game season.

Evander Kane, Kevin Labanc and Dylan Gambrell all scored even-strength goals and Martin Jones finished with 26 saves as the Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 on Saturday at Honda Center for their third straight win.

Labanc’s goal came at the 6:33 mark of the second period as he gave the lead back to the Sharks 55 seconds after Max Jones had scored for Anaheim to tie the game 1-1.

Gambrell scored his first goal of the season at the 2:07 mark of the third period for insurance, as the Sharks (11-11-3) improved to 4-0-1 against the Ducks this season. The Sharks continue their road trip with games against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday and Wednesday.

Prior to Saturday, the Sharks were 0-3-1 in games when they had a chance to sweep a two-game series. They’re now back to a .500 points percentage for the first time since Feb. 20 when they were 7-7-2.

The Sharks remain in seventh place in the West Division but are starting to feel good about how things are trending.

“Things are just kind of starting to click,” Gambrell said Saturday morning. “I think we’re playing to our identity more, which is that north-south game, keep it simple, getting in on the forecheck. We’ve been really good in the defensive zone as of late, too, and it’s just a combination of everybody buying in and playing the right way.”

Kane opened the scoring with his 11th goal of the season at the 6:16 mark of the first period.

Right at the end of a Ducks power play, Kane took control of a loose puck in the Sharks zone and raced up the ice. Drifting a little to his left, Kane fired a wrist shot past Ducks goalie Ryan Miller, scoring in his third straight game. Kane had a goal and an assist for the Sharks in their 6-0 win over the Ducks on Friday.

Jones had seven saves in the first period, including a nifty stop on a golden chance for Danton Heinen.

With the Ducks on a shorthanded 2-on-0 rush, Max Jones fed Heinen, whose forehand-to-backhand try was gloved by Jones, who was making his first start since March 5 when he allowed three goals on eight shots in 22 minutes.

Prior to Saturday, Devan Dubnyk had made the last three starts for the Sharks, going 2-1-0 with a .935 save percentage, including a 34-save shutout Friday.

“He had a couple of decent games there and then it didn’t go so well,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said Saturday morning of Jones. “I think the competition is going to be great. (Dubnyk’s) playing really well right now. I hope that that competition alone brings out the best in Jonesy, both guys fighting for that net, wanting to be the number one guy.

“We had some production for Dubnyk in the last couple games, but we’d like to do the same for Jonesy tonight and if we play as well as we did last night in front of Jonesy. I expect he’ll be solid. I think competition alone and trying to keep the net will be the main factor in determining his play.”

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