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Preview: Ducks Head North to Face Sharks Tonight

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (9-8-4, 22 pts.) wrap up their fifth set of back-to-back games tonight facing the San Jose Sharks (12-8-1, 25 pts.) at SAP Center (7:30 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket/AM 830). Anaheim is 3-2-3 in back-to-backs this season after going 14-5-3 in such contests last year. In total, the Ducks will play 14 sets of back-to-back games in 2016-17, an increase of three from the previous season.

Tonight's contest marks the second match of a five-game season series between the Ducks and Sharks. In the series opener on October 26 in San Jose, the Ducks extended their standings point streak to three consecutive games in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Sharks. Chris Wagner scored Anaheim's lone goal at 17:49 of the second period, tying the game, 1-1. Jonathan Bernier stopped 10-of-11 shots in the first period before being relieved at the start of the second by John Gibson due to an upper-body injury. Gibson made saves on all 24 shots in regulation prior to Marc-Edouard Vlasic's winner at 1:24 of overtime.

The Ducks own an all-time record of 58-59-11 vs. the Sharks, having earned points in the last four in a row (seven pts., 3-0-1) dating to Nov. 7, 2015. In San Jose, the Ducks are 28-30-6 with a win in the most recent meeting in the aforementioned November 7 game. Anaheim is led in scoring (among active skaters) by Ryan Getzlaf's 51 points (10g/41a) in 63 career games. The Ducks will make one additional trip to San Jose on March 18 (7:30 p.m. PT). Anaheim will also host its Pacific Division rival for two games on December 9 (7 p.m. PT) and December 27 (7 p.m. PT) at Honda Center.

The Ducks flew up to San Jose yesterday evening following their 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center. Nick Ritchie and Jakob Silfverberg potted goals for Anaheim in the second and third periods, but the Ducks couldn't fully dig themselves out of a 3-0 hole. This marked the third consecutive 3-2 defeat for Anaheim (twice in regulation, once in a shootout), which concluded its season-long five-game homestand with a 2-2-1 mark.

San Jose, meanwhile, edged the visiting New York Islanders in dramatic fashion when veteran Patrick Marleau tipped Brent Burns' point shot past goaltender Thomas Greiss with just 22.5 seconds remaining in the third period. The goal came 35 seconds after Nick Leddy tied the game for New York. The Sharks enter tonight's game with three consecutive victories, all of which on their current five-game homestand that concludes on Tuesday vs. Arizona. San Jose is 6-3-1 over its past 10 games and 7-2-0 at SAP Center.

Four of Anaheim's next five games will be played away from Honda Center, including a three-game Western Canadian road trip that makes stops in Vancouver (December 1), Edmonton (December 3) and Calgary (December 4). The Ducks have earned points in three of their past five games overall (five pts., 2-2-1) and five of the past six road games (eight pts., 3-1-2) dating to October 20 at Philadelphia. Following tonight's game, the Ducks return to Honda Center to complete their November schedule with a 7 p.m. game against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

Upcoming milestones include Ryan Garbutt one appearance shy of 300 NHL games; Cam Fowler one power-play goal shy of tying Fredrik Olausson (22) for second on the franchise's all-time PPG list for defensemen, one power-play point from surpassing Olausson (88) for sole possession of third on the franchise's all-time PPP list for defensemen, and one point from tying Chris Kunitz (192) for 10th on the franchise's all-time scoring list; and Sami Vatanen one point from tying Lubomir Visnovsky (108) for seventh on the franchise's all-time scoring list for defensemen.

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