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Morning Report: Ducks Travel North, Set Sights on Sharks

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

By Kyle Shohara

The Ducks had little time to dwell on yesterday’s 4-1 defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center. Shortly after the game ended, the team packed their bags and headed to the airport where they caught an early evening flight to San Jose, where they close out the second half of a back-to-back tonight against the Sharks.

Anaheim’s loss on Black Friday snapped a three-game winning streak. But despite the setback, the Ducks co-lead the NHL in overall standings points with Vancouver and Montreal, have earned points in 11 of 13 (17 pts., 6-2-4) and 33 points in their last 23 (14-4-5).

The big news just prior to yesterday’s game revolved around the team’s blueline. It was announced that defenseman Francois Beauchemin will be out approximately four to six weeks with a broken finger, and defenseman Clayton Stoner is day-to-day with the mumps. Both players have been placed on injured reserve. Anaheim recalled Jesse Blacker from Norfolk of the American Hockey League, and the 23-year-old made his NHL debut in the loss vs. Chicago.

“It was a special feeling,” Blacker said. “It was a fun experience. It’s the best league in the world. It was a new experience and I’m looking forward to moving on.”

Anaheim also made a trade, acquiring 6-foot-4 defenseman Eric Brewer from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a third-round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft. Brewer, 35, earned four assists and a +5 rating and 18 penalty minutes in 17 games with the Lightning this season. A veteran of 16 NHL seasons, Brewer has appeared in 982 NHL games, scoring 264 points (74g/190a) with 774 penalty minutes. Brewer won an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2002 and captained the St. Louis Blues for three seasons from 2008-11.

“I coached him when he was 20 years old,” said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau. “He’s a big, experienced veteran defenseman who can move the puck and jump into the play. He should help us out quite a bit.”

His services may be available tonight, as Brewer is expected to join the team in San Jose.

The Ducks and Sharks kicked off their intrastate rivalry with a bang on Oct. 26 at Honda Center, a 4-1 win for San Jose. In that game, both teams combined for 165 penalty minutes, 75 by Anaheim and 90 for San Jose. Twenty-four individual penalties were issued in the third period alone, including seven 10-minute misconducts. Five Ducks skaters finished with at least 10 minutes of penalties (Tim Jackman – 21, Corey Perry – 17, Nate Thompson – 14, Matt Beleskey – 10, Ryan Kesler – 10). San Jose was led by John Scott (22), Adam Burish (16) and Justin Braun (14).

“Tensions ran high for both teams,” Ryan Getzlaf said after that game. “We dealt with them. We stuck together as a group. That’s the main thing.”

Getzlaf leads Anaheim in scoring (6-13=19), co-leads in assists and has seven multi-point games in 23 contests this season.

Kesler has 6-12=18 points in his first 24 games as a Duck, including 3-7=10 points in his last 10.

Perry, who has scored 12 goals in 19 games this season, ranks ninth among NHL leaders in shooting percentage (21.8) and tied for fourth in goals.

Sami Vatanen already has a career-high four power-play goals, is tied for fourth among league leaders in power-play points (4-8=12, leading NHL defensemen) and tied for sixth for goals by a defenseman (5). Vatanen enters tonight's game with 2-9=11 points in his last 11 games, ranks second among team leaders in overall scoring (5-13=18) and co-leads in assists.

Kyle Palmieri has three goals in his last five games (3-0=3) and Matt Beleskey has points in three of his last five games (3-1=4).

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