After the All-Star break, checking the standings becomes a much more frequent exercise across the NHL.

Those standings got a little tighter on Tuesday at Honda Center, as the Ducks beat the Sharks, 3-2, in the first game after the break for both clubs.

Surging Anaheim, which won its fourth in a row and fifth in its last six, trails the second place Sharks by three points with a game in hand.

San Jose lost for the first time in regulation since Jan. 7, a span of 11 games (8-1-2).

The Ducks opened up a 3-1 second period lead they would not surrender.

Hampus Lindholm’s shorthanded goal broke a 1-1 tie. Brent Burns and Joe Thornton couldn’t connect on a pass in the defensive zone, leading to Lindholm beating Martin Jones high at 4:19 of the middle frame.

Later in the frame, Ryan Garbutt found a juicy rebound off of Jones’ chest originating from the stick of Chris Stewart, and deposited his first goal with Anaheim at 12:07. Garbutt was acquired from Chicago just before the All-Star break.

San Jose got one back before the end of the period. Joonas Donskoi managed to get the puck to slot area, and it ended up on the stick of Tommy Wingels, who swiped it through at 13:12.

The Sharks managed to keep it just a one-goal deficit despite a lengthy penalty kill that featured 55 seconds of two-man advantage time for Anaheim after penalty to Marc-Edouard Vlasic (high-sticking) and Wingels, for plowing over Frederik Andersen.