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Ducks look for bounce-back effort vs. Sharks

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com

DUCKS (14-5-5) AT SHARKS (10-10-4)

TV: KCOP-13, CSN-CA

SAN JOSE -- Defenseman Eric Brewer will make his debut Saturday night at SAP Center for the Anaheim Ducks against the San Jose Sharks, who could be without second-line center Logan Couture.

Couture missed San Jose's morning skate because of an illness, and coach Todd McLellan said he was questionable for the game.

The Sharks are also expected to activate fourth-line forward Mike Brown, a move that would require them to clear a roster spot.

"With the [Couture] question mark and some roster moves, we're a little bit influx right now," McLellan said. "[Brown] should be back in the lineup tonight."

Brown hasn't played since breaking his left hand in San Jose's second game of the season on Oct. 11 against the Winnipeg Jets.

"Right now I've got a lot of energy," Brown said. "I know my role, and putting me back in the lineup is to play my style of play. And that's hit, crash the net, create some energy, block shots and do whatever I can to get the boys fired up. That's how I play every game, and that's how I'm going to play coming in tonight."

The Ducks acquired Brewer on Friday from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade for a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. He arrived in San Jose late Friday night and was on the ice Saturday for the Ducks' optional skate.

"Got a call at 4 o'clock, was at the airport at 5:30," Brewer said. "It was a bit of a panic, to be honest with you, firing stuff in a bag, saying bye to my wife and kids for a little bit. But certainly it's an exciting time for us and one that we welcome."

The Ducks have four defensemen on injured reserve (Ben Lovejoy, Mark Fistric, Clayton Stoner and Francois Beauchemin), which prompted their trade for Brewer. The 35-year old Brewer is in his 16th NHL season and has played 982 career games. He has played for the New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues and Lightning.

"He's a veteran player, and he's played in many big games before," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He knows what it's all about. We just expect him to be smart and make the first pass and do what he's been doing for 15 years."

Brewer said, "I think the team's going pretty well for now. It's just a matter of kind of blending in, not trying to rock the boat. Just kind of fit in and bring a few solid minutes and a little veteran presence."

Couture has eight goals, 11 assists and 19 points for the Sharks, who have averaged 1.6 goals during their past nine games. If Couture can't play, Patrick Marleau likely will center a new-look second line between Tommy Wingels and Barclay Goodrow. Tye McGinn and Joe Pavelski took rushes on the first line with center Joe Thornton.

The Sharks defeated Anaheim 4-1 on Oct. 26 at Honda Center, snapping a four-game losing streak. The Sharks and Ducks combined for 165 penalty minutes. San Jose looks to end a four-game losing streak.

"I expect every time we play L.A. and San Jose that it's going to be not necessarily a physical game but an intense game," Boudreau said. "Sometimes it boils over, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it boils over into just a fast, hard game. I think both teams want and need the points more than they want and need the fights."

Here are the projected lineups:

DUCKS

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Patrick Maroon - Ryan Kesler - Kyle Palmieri

Jakob Silfverberg - Nate Thompson - Andrew Cogliano

Rene Bourque - Devante Smith-Pelly - Tim Jackman

Cam Fowler - Josh Manson

Hampus Lindholm - Mat Clark

Eric Brewer - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

Jason LaBarbera

Injured: Lovejoy (finger), Fistric (back), Stoner (mumps), Beauchemin (finger), John Gibson (groin), Dany Heatley (groin)

Scratched: Rickard Rakell, Jesse Blacker

SHARKS

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Tye McGinn

Tommy Wingels - Patrick Marleau - Barclay Goodrow

Matt Nieto - James Sheppard - Tomas Hertl

Mike Brown - Andrew Desjardins - John Scott

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Brent Burns - Brenden Dillon

Matt Irwin, Scott Hannan

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Injured: Raffi Torres (right knee), Troy Grosenick (upper body)

Scratched: Mirco Mueller, Matt Tennyson, Tyler Kennedy

Status report: Scott took rushes on the fourth line, replacing Kennedy, and likely will be in the lineup after missing the past seven games as a healthy scratch. He was suspended two games earlier this season for his fight with Jackman in San Jose's previous game against Anaheim. ... Stalock will be activated from injured reserve and back up Niemi. He had surgery on his left knee and missed nine games. ... Boudreau did not reveal his lineup, but Brewer likely will be paired with Vatanen, replacing Blacker. ... Andersen will start his 11th straight game. He made 34 saves on Friday in Anaheim's 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Who's hot: Getzlaf leads the Ducks in points (19) and is tied with Vatanen for the lead in assists (13). ... Kesler has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) over his past 11 games. ... Vatanen has a career-high four power play goals. ... Burns ranks third among NHL defensemen in points with 19. ... Thornton leads the Sharks in points (20) and assists (13) and ranks third in goals (seven).

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