The Sharks had just ended the NHL season's longest winning streak at 10 games with a well-deserved 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. Afterward, though, even that was overshadowed by the individual accomplishments along the way. Logan Couture ended an 11-game goal drought with his first since Dec. 3 and 100th of his NHL career, but it was San Jose's next one that got everybody's attention. At age 32 and in just his eighth regular-season game, career minor leaguer Bracken Kearns scored his first NHL goal. "It was amazing, absolutely amazing," said Kearns, who was called up from Worcester the previous day to help shore up the Sharks' injury-depleted forward ranks. "It felt so good." The significance of the moment that Kearns fired in a rebound at 9:16 of the second period to give San Jose a 3-0 lead was not lost on Sharks coach Todd McLellan. "It's a great story, isn't it?" he said. "It's great for him, but there's also a lesson in it about believing in yourself and persevering." Brent Burns also scored for San Jose, and Ducks forward Patrick Maroon ruined Antti Niemi's bid for a shutout with 8:28 left in the third period. Niemi did make 30 saves to earn his 21st victory of the season, while Anaheim netminder Frederik Andersen saw his record dip to 9-2. Kearns spent seven seasons in the minors before playing his first NHL game at age 30 with the Florida Panthers on Oct. 20, 2011. The son of longtime Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dennis Kearns, he was at the right spot at the right time when Andrew Desjardins' wraparound attempt popped in front of the net. And, yes, Kearns -- who became the oldest player to score his first NHL goal as a Shark -- said his eyes widened in anticipation.
Sharks cool off streaking Ducks
San Jose Mercury News | Dec 30