After grinding out a 3-2 victory last night in Anaheim, the Ducks (9-7-3, 21 points) aim for their third consecutive win tonight as they take on the San Jose Sharks (10-8-0, 20 points) at SAP Center. This game concludes the club's third set of back-to-backs of the season and just the second road contest in the past 16 days. (It also happened to be in San Jose on November 4). The Ducks have won three of their past four games (3-1-0) and have earned points in five of the past six (eight points, 3-1-2). Anaheim is 3-1-1 in back-to-backs this season, including a 1-0-1 mark in the second game.
This is a grueling portion of the schedule after the Ducks had gone multiple days between their two most recent games. They are in the midst of playing five games in seven days, their only such stretch this season. Following tonight's game, the Ducks will return home to host the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday and the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. The next night, the Ducks will travel to LA to face the Kings in the opener of a six-game road trip that continues in Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus and Nashville before concluding in Las Vegas.
With this being the second half of back-to-backs, the Ducks could go with Reto Berra in goal. The 30-year-old netminder last appeared on November 9 vs. Vancouver, stopping six-of-six shots in relief of Ryan Miller, who left the game in the third period due to injury. Berra is 0-1-0 in three appearances this season.
Tonight marks the second meeting between the Ducks and Sharks in 2017-18, which opened with a 2-1 shootout victory for San Jose. Anaheim owns an all-time record of 61-59-13 vs. San Jose, having earned points in its last nine in a row (15 points, 6-0-3) dating to Nov. 7, 2015. Up north, the Ducks are 30-30-6 with points in five consecutive games (3-0-2). Right wing Corey Perry paces the Ducks in career scoring against San Jose with 49 points (25g/24a) in 66 games. The series will shift to Honda Center for the final two games of the season series on Sunday, January 21 and Sunday, February 11.
The Sharks have enjoyed the comforts of home for the better part of three weeks. Sandwiched between a five-game homestand that began on October 30 and a three-game homestand on November 16 was a lone road contest held on November 12 in LA (2-1 loss). Despite the home cooking, the Sharks have gone 4-3 in their past seven games at SAP Center, including two consecutive losses on this current three-gamer (2-0 loss to Florida on November 16 and a 3-1 setback to Boston on November 18).
Logan Couture paces the Sharks in scoring this season with 15 points (10g/5a) in 18 games. The 28-year-old center was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week for the week ending October 23 after he posted five goals and seven points over three games. Couture enters tonight's matchup with 24 points (12g/12a) in 34 career games against Anaheim. Goaltender Martin Jones has an 8-5-0 record with a 2.13 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 13 games this season. Jones ranks fourth in the NHL in GAA and was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week for the week ending November 6 after going 3-0 with a 1.30 GAA and .938 SV%.