ANAHEIM -- No one would make any direct connection afterward, but the Sharks responded to the trade of longtime defenseman Douglas Murray to the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5-3 victory Monday night over an Anaheim Ducks team that embarrassed them here one week earlier.
"We're all pros. It doesn't matter who's traded," center Joe Thornton said. "You've got to go and play and work hard."
That they did. And their strongest effort of this just-completed five-game trip was powered by three players ending scoring droughts -- Joe Pavelski, Marty Havlat and James Sheppard -- as well as Brent Burns continuing his scoring streak at forward.
Even with that, it took an empty-net goal by Dan Boyle with 27.7 seconds left before the Sharks could breathe easily after the Ducks clawed back from a 3-0 deficit to make it a one-goal game with 1:40 left on goals by Emerson Etem, Francois Beauchemin and Corey Perry.
The Ducks were playing for the second consecutive night and entered on their longest losing streak of the season -- two games, both at home to the Detroit Red Wings.
"Sometimes when you're playing a team like that after two losses, they give you an even tougher one," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "I'm proud of the way we responded and how well-prepared we were."
The victory moved the Sharks back into a tie for eighth place with Nashville in the Western Conference.
Goals by Burns -- who has eight points in seven games at forward -- and Pavelski staked the Sharks to a 2-0 lead in the first period. For Pavelski, it was his first goal in 11 games and came after he was slotted as a third-line center for the first time this season.
The Sharks extended their lead to 3-0 just 34 seconds into the second period on Havlat's first goal in 16 games, but the Ducks started their comeback at 8:16 on Etem's goal that banked off defenseman Brad Stuart and past goalie Antti Niemi.
The Ducks cut their deficit to 3-2 just 58 seconds into the third period on Beauchemin's one-timer. The Sharks thought they had made it 4-2 at 7:56 when Logan Couture tipped in a shot by Pavelski, but the officials said Couture's stick was above the crossbar, and a video review was inconclusive.
At 10:04, however, the Sharks got that two-goal lead when Sheppard scored his first goal in 23 games with the Sharks -- and first overall since Dec. 11, 2009, when he was with the Minnesota Wild.
"It's a good feeling to get one, but two is still more than one, so I want to keep going," said Sheppard, who missed two full seasons after severely injuring his knee in an all-terrain vehicle accident.
"This doesn't take away our goal of trying to make the playoffs this year," Wilson said, while not ruling out other changes before the April 3 trade deadline. "We have high expectations for our group, and we're not going to diminish those even as we go into a reset and refresh mode."
The Sharks will receive Pittsburgh's second-round pick in 2013 and a conditional pick in 2014. If the Penguins win two rounds of the playoffs or re-sign Murray, the Sharks will get their second-round pick in 2014. If neither occurs, it will be a third-round selection.
For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks.
Anaheim (22-6-4) at Sharks (14-11-6), 7 p.m. CSNCA
For more on the Douglas Murray trade, go to www.mercurynews.com./Sharks