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Ducks host Sharks with chance to clinch Pacific

by Jon Lane

SHARKS (49-21-9) at DUCKS (51-20-8)


Last 10: San Jose 4-4-2; Anaheim 6-3-1

Season series: This is the fifth and final game of the season between the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. The Sharks have won three times, including a 3-2 victory March 20 at SAP Center.

Big story: The Ducks will clinch the Pacific Division with a victory against the Sharks on Wednesday at Honda Center. Anaheim can also surpass the franchise record for points (110), which was set in 2006-07 by the team that won the Stanley Cup.

Team Scope:

Sharks: If San Jose falls short of winning the division, it can look back at a handful of missed opportunities. Since the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Sharks are 7-1-0 against teams headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but 5-4-3 against teams outside of the postseason picture.

The Sharks have been idle since Saturday, and that could help against a Ducks team playing its third game in four nights in three cities.

"That could be a good thing or it could be a detriment," Sharks coach Todd McLellan told the San Jose Mercury News following practice Tuesday. "We'd like to turn it into a good thing. We had some good energy in practice. We know we're going down to Anaheim, where we didn't play well earlier in the year and we have to perform at a higher level to be successful. And from there we'll take the games as they come."

Forward Bracken Kearns is expected to be in the San Jose lineup after being recalled from the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.

"I think we need to stir the drink a little bit," McLellan said. "I think guys are comfortable, and some have earned the right to be comfortable. Others have been too comfortable and haven't earned it completely yet."

Ducks: Anaheim received a boost in the standings and in net with a 3-0 win Monday against the Vancouver Canucks when rookie John Gibson became the youngest goaltender in NHL history to have a shutout in his debut (20 years, 267 days old). Gibson stepped in for Frederik Andersen (headache) and starter Jonas Hiller, who was given a breather in the second of a back-to-back set in the midst of a three-game losing streak and a 6-9-3 slide.

Andersen took part in an optional practice Tuesday and said he's feeling better, but coach Bruce Boudreau said he's not ready for game action yet.

"Might take a couple of days, might take a week," said Boudreau, who will turn to Gibson again Wednesday night.

Who's hot: San Jose forward Joe Paveleski has at least a point in five of his past six games (five goals, four assists). Forward Brent Burns also has at least a point in five of six (two goals, five assists). … Anaheim forward Daniel Winnik has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past five games. Center Ryan Getzlaf has at least a point in five of his past seven (one goal, six assists). Forward Corey Perry has six points (four goals, two assists) in his past five.

Injury report: Sharks forward Raffi Torres (knee) could return as soon as Wednesday. Forwards Adam Burish (broken index finger) and Tomas Hertl (right knee surgery) are on injured reserve. … Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler (sprained MCL) took part in practice Tuesday but isn't ready to return. "It's been a really good progression," Fowler said. "I'm getting more comfortable each day." Forward Tim Jackman (hand surgery) is on IR.


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