Following a triumphant victory on opening night Thursday, the Ducks will look to find the win column again as they close out a two-game home set tonight against the San Jose Sharks. (7 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830). This is the first of four meetings between these in-state rivals, and one of two to be played at Honda Center. The Ducks come in with a 64-61-15 all-time record vs. the Sharks along with a 32-30-8 mark at home.
The Ducks are coming off a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes two nights ago, with goals from Derek Grant and Cam Fowler, and a 32-save effort from goaltender John Gibson. Anaheim killed off its lone penalty that night, pushing its streak to 18 consecutive kills dating to the preseason. The Ducks were also just one of four teams to limit the opposition to one goal in their season openers, which led to wins for each of those four teams.
After practice yesterday, Grant said the Ducks carried the confidence they gained throughout training camp and preseason into their season-opening victory. "We were all itching to get going and get this season started," he said. "Getting that win built into that confidence we had through camp. Within our group, it wouldn't have made a difference win or lose, but definitely when you get the win in the first game, it keeps that high and keeps that excitement, especially heading into the start of the season. It's something every team wants to do."
A win tonight could send the team off on a high note as they embark on a four-game road trip beginning Tuesday in Detroit. From there, they'll open their first set of back-to-backs this season with games Thursday in Pittsburgh and Friday in Columbus. They'll close out the trip with an afternoon contest in Boston on Monday.
The Ducks tonight are facing a Sharks team that has gone winless in their first two games this season, with both losses coming against the Vegas Golden Knights. San Jose has been outscored by Vegas 9-2 in the two games, with 4-1 and 5-1 defeats in the home-and-home set. They trailed 5-0 last night in their home opener before Barclay Goodrow ended Marc-Andre Fleury's shutout bid late in the third period.
"I don't think anyone in here is proud of their performance, the way we've played or the way we've started this season," Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson said in this NHL.com article. "But there's no need to panic. We're two games in."
Evander Kane will not play tonight as he serves the third game of a three-game suspension for physical abuse of officials. Kane was given the suspension on Tuesday, two days after he was ejected from the Sharks' preseason finale in Vegas on Sept. 29.