The San Jose Sharks climbed the backs of two offensive defenceman Tuesday night to climb back into their opening-round playoff series with the Anaheim Ducks.
Dan Boyle led the top-ranked Sharks with two goals and one assist, and Rob Blake had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over the host Ducks in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarter-final at the Honda Center.
"You saw the desperation in the way we worked and executed," Blake said. "Everyone chipped in and we got the result."
Patrick Marleau snapped a 3-3 stalemate with a power-play goal with 9:27 remaining.
With Corey Perry serving a hooking penalty, Marleau redirected Blake's pass into the slot beyond the reach of Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller for his first goal of the series and ninth post-season winner.
"Blakey made that play off my stick," Marleau said. "The focus is on winning.
"It doesn't matter who is doing it for us. We had some good opportunities and we were able to get some good bounces, finally."
"We're excited for him to get that one tonight," Sharks rookie head coach Todd McLellan said. "We have held him accountable for his play over the last couple of games and for him to come into this building and respond the way he did is something we're happy about."
Another factor was San Jose's improved power play, which scored twice on three opportunities.
"We got rewarded for an honest effort," McLellan said.
"We were sick and tired of answering power-play questions the past couple of days," Boyle told CBC Sports.
Rookie Bobby Ryan, James Wisniewski and Chris Pronger scored for the eighth-seeded Ducks, who lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.
"It took a while for us to get our feet underneath us," Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. "It seemed like we were battling back all night.
"We got away just a little bit from the way we needed to play, especially early in the game," Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer stated. "They came at us pretty good and we didn't have that same response, I guess."
Blake sparks Sharks
Blake was credited with opening the scoring 5:34 into the contest on a shot that caromed in off a skate.
But Ryan replied less than six minutes later as he chipped a loose puck from behind the net toward Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who inadvertently pushed it into the net with the heel of his left skate as he stepped backward.
San Jose regained the lead at 13:07 of the first period when Joe Thornton stepped out from behind the net and slid a pass through the crease to the far post, where Boyle whacked it in for a power-play goal.
Only 1:43 later, Wisniewski unleashed a wicked slapshot from the side boards that flew by a screened Nabokov for the tying goal.
Boyle swept in a bouncing puck for his second goal of the game 65 seconds into the second period, but Pronger offset that with an unassisted marker at 11:50.
Knocked on his rump in the corner, Sharks forward Joe Pavelski tried to clear the puck and handed it directly to Pronger, who beat Nabokov from the high slot with a rising slapshot.
"We gradually got it going," Niedermayer said. "But not enough."
This is the first playoff series between teams from California teams since the Los Angeles Kings eliminated the Oakland Seals in seven games in 1969, and the first between the Ducks and Sharks.
Game 4 goes Thursday night at Anaheim (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10:30 p.m. ET).