Ducks Radio Analyst
SAN JOSE – The Ducks visit the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion tonight hoping to get their season-high, six-game road trip off to a better start on the ice than it began in the air.
The club’s Wednesday afternoon charter flight from Los Angeles to San Jose, through the series of storms that are inundating California, was a bit bumpy, to say the least.
“It was a white-knuckler,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said after Thursday’s morning skate. “They warned us it would be rough. Once you hit a certain elevation, it smoothed out, but once you went under that, it was rough again.”
Having ultimately landed safe and sound, if just a bit the worse for wear, the Ducks turned their attention to trying to beat the Sharks for the first time this season. San Jose, an opening-round loser to Anaheim in last season’s Stanley Cup playoffs, has dispatched the Ducks in all four meetings this season.
“We just want to keep things rolling,” Ducks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank
said, referencing the stretch of seven victories in eight games that has the club in playoff contention in the NHL’s loaded Western Conference. “We know it’s going to be a tough, hard-fought game. We haven’t been able to get the Sharks yet this year. They’ve been gunning for us, so we have to be ready for them.”
San Jose, which outscored the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings a combined 14-2 in back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday, will be without standout defenseman Dan Boyle because of an upper-body injury.
“With good teams, I’m not sure there’s ever a good time to play them,” Carlyle said. “We know all about San Jose. We know what they’re about, and they know what we’re about. We just have to play to a higher level, get more competitive in the dirty areas.”
From here, the Ducks will move on to visit St. Louis, Atlanta, Washington, Tampa Bay and Florida before returning home to host Detroit on Feb. 3.
“We’ve done our share of winning, but we’ve had the luxury of playing a lot of home games lately,” Carlyle said. “We have to improve our road record.”