DUCKS (9-19-6) AT SHARKS (19-10-3)
TV: KDOC (HD), CSN-CA (HD)
Anaheim (2-6-2); San Jose (5-3-2)
This will be the third of six meetings between the two Pacific Division rivals. The Ducks prevailed on the two previous occasions, 1-0 and 3-2, respectively.
Something will have to give when the two teams collide, as the Sharks sit tied atop the division, while the Ducks aim to get out from the bottom of the cellar.
It's always nice heading into the holiday break on a winning note, but the Ducks weren't as fortunate. In fact, they stumbled into the break, winning just two of their last 10 games. Fortunately, the break also serves as a time to unwind and clear the slate, which is what the Ducks will need to do to be successful in the second half of the season. One way of accomplishing that goal is to win a road game. The Ducks are currently on a five-game road trip and have managed to earn just one point. Visiting San Jose won't make things any easier, but it's best to tackle the challenge head on.
"You have to play to win," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We have to find something to turn it around. There are an awful lot of road games left in the season. It's something we have to change. We are trying to find ways."
The Sharks sit atop their division, but are tied in points with the Dallas Stars, which means that the margin for error is quite slim on this side of California. Unlike the Ducks, however, the Sharks skate into their matchup feeling great about their game, having won four consecutive games and earned points in six straight. The win streak has taken place at the Shark Tank, the site of the Sharks' next two contests, including the one against Anaheim. To come out on top, the Sharks need not adjust much, as they've outscored opponents 17-8 in the past four games. Still, the chance to close out the month of December on a positive note stares the Sharks in the face.
The Ducks have been led by the great play of 41-year-old Teemu Selanne
, whose nine-game point streak ended just before the break. Meanwhile, the Sharks have relied on the services of captain Joe Thornton
, who has collected five points in his past five outings.
Anaheim's Saku Koivu
(groin) is day-to-day, while Jason Blake
remains out with a wrist injury. San Jose will be without the services of Martin Havlat
(hamstring), who is out until mid-February. Also, defensemen Jim Vandermeer
and Douglas Murray
are both day-to-day with hand injuries.
The Ducks own the worst goal differential in the NHL (-33).
Puck Drop: Teemu Selanne
on having the longest point streak by a player 41 or older, as told to AnaheimDucks.com:
"Am I that old?" he asked. "I haven't really thought about that too much. To be honest, it doesn't' really make me feel much better with the situation that we have right here. What else can you do? You just try your best, do what you can do and help this team. Individual stuff is not really my goal, and it hasn't been ever."