Teams don't fill the net too often behind Steve Shields because he fills so much of it himself.
"I should be able to give the team a chance to win every night and I expect nothing less," said Shields, who made his third start after missing the entire preseason because of a broken finger.
"I haven't been feeling that comfortable out there because I missed training camp. And being a little bigger, it takes me a while to get my timing. But tonight, I was able to get into a little bit of a rhythm and relax."
Shields' best save and perhaps the most critical one came with less than 11 minutes remaining in regulation.
Tomas Sandstrom of the Ducks worked the puck free from Tony Granato at the Anaheim blue line and took off on a two-on-one rush with Marty McInnis. They executed a perfect give-and-go, but Shields slid across the crease to rob McInnis at the left post.
"I thought he played well, and made some spectacular saves," said Paul Kariya, who was blanked on six shots. "He took away the bottom of the net and we didn't get it up enough."
Jeff Friesen scored San Jose's first goal on a breakaway in the second period and Dave Lowry pulled the Sharks even with 9:33 remaining in the third.
The Sharks, who took only nine shots on net in their previous game and scored four times to beat Dallas, took 17 shots at Guy Hebert before Friesen got his third goal just 52 seconds before the second intermission.
Friesen spoiled Hebert's shutout bid by faking the eight-year veteran to his right and putting a short backhander past the goalie's glove hand after Bill Houlder stole the puck from Teemu Selanne in the neutral zone.
"The puck was rolling on me, so I was trying to settle it down and drive to the net because I knew their defenseman was coming behind me," Friesen said. "I wanted to fake a quick shot, hoping to freeze (Hebert), and fortunately I did. But he's a good goalie and you're not going to beat him like that too many times."
Lowry rewarded Shields after his brilliant save on McInnis with his second goal of the season moments later, beating Hebert with a one-timer from 30 feet in the slot after Ron Sutter won a clean draw from Steve Rucchin in the left circle.
"It was a set play all the way," Sutter said. "It was funny. Before the puck was dropped, he said to me that if I won it clean, he was going to one-time it. And by the time I looked up, the puck was already coming out of the net. His release was quick and he got everything on it."
Kariya thought that Friesen's goal was the turning poit of the game.
"I still don't know what happened there, but I think we got caught on a line change," the Ducks' captain said. "We made some mistakes, but we also put out a good effort and could have had a lot more goals."
All Anaheim could muster, however, were power-play goals by Sandstrom and defenseman Ruslan Salei. The Ducks, who lost all six meetings with the Sharks last season, outshot them 17-6 in the first period and scored only once.
San Jose's Marcus Ragnarsson was serving an interference penalty when Sandstrom scored his fourth goal midway through the period. McInnis fanned on Selanne's perfect setup, but Selanne chased the puck to the other side of the net and found Sandstrom near the right of the crease with a thread-the-needle pass across the goalmouth. Sandstrom had a wide-open net with Smith caught out of position.
The Sharks found themselves with a two-man advantage for almost 1 ½ minutes early in the second period after Selanne was sent off for holding and Sandstrom highsticked Sharks captain Owen Nolan 34 seconds later. But Hebert held his ground and stopped all four shots during that span.
The Ducks then increased the margin to 2-0 at 8:50 of the second with Salei's first goal of the season. Mike Rathje was in the box for boarding when Salei took a cross-ice feed at the right point from Fredrik Olausson and beat Smith with a one-timer to the stick side as the goalie was cheating to his left.
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