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Ducks look to follow Sharks into postseason

by Tal Pinchevsky
SHARKS (47-23-9) at DUCKS (44-30-5)


Last 10:
San Jose 8-1-1; Anaheim 7-3-0

Season series: This is the sixth and final matchup between these Golden State rivals, with San Jose holding a 3-1-1 advantage. When they last met on Saturday in San Jose, Anaheim raced out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to two assists from Corey Perry. But the Sharks rolled off four unanswered goals, including Devin Setoguchi's game-winner on the power play.

Big story:
Both San Jose and Anaheim have been among the League's hottest teams of late and will in all likelihood join the Kings in the postseason, the first time all three California teams have qualified for the playoffs. While the Sharks have already clinched their fourth straight Pacific Division crown and can finish no worse than third in the Western Conference, the Ducks can punch their playoff ticket by winning two of their remaining three games.

Team Scope:

Sharks: With an 8-0-1 record in their last nine games, few teams look more poised than the Sharks to make an extended postseason run. San Jose has points in 12 of its last 13 games and has collected convincing victories over teams they could potentially meet in the first round of the playoffs, including the Ducks, Kings, and Coyotes.

On Monday night, six different Sharks scored in a 6-1 dismantling of the Kings. Dan Boyle registered a Gordie Howe hat trick and Kyle Wellwood led the offensive charge with a goal and two assists. But the main story was the goal and assist from Joe Thornton, two points that left him just one short of the exalted 1,000-point mark for his career.

Ducks: After enjoying a streak in which they won seven of eight games, the Ducks have suddenly lost their last two games, both against important conference opponents. Following the Saturday night loss in San Jose, Anaheim hosted Dallas the following evening and raced out to an early 1-0 lead. But the Stars exploded with two goals in the first and two more in the second to take a 4-2 lead before Perry halved the deficit with a goal late in the second period.

What appeared to be a tying goal in the third period was later waved off when referee Brad Meier ruled that Saku Koivu interfered with Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen. Just over a minute later, the Ducks appeared to tie the game once again with 49 seconds left in regulation. But Meier waved off that equalizer as well, ruling that Bobby Ryan's goal had been set up by a hand pass from Perry. The resulting 4-3 loss kept the Ducks from clinching a playoff spot.

Who's hot:
The Sharks' Joe Pavelski now has 20 points in his current 10-game points streak while Patrick Marleau has 27 points in his last 18 games. … For the Ducks, Corey Perry has 18 points in his current nine-game points streak. His line, alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan, has combined for 41 points in that span.

Injury report:
San Jose's Ryan Clowe left Monday's game with a lower-body injury and is questionable for Wednesday, while Kent Huskins and Scott Nichol are on IR with upper-body injuries. … The Ducks' only injury is Jonas Hiller, who is out with vertigo symptoms.

Stat pack:
With one more goal, Pavelski will have 20 for the season, giving the Sharks seven different 20-goal scorers. The only team that currently has seven 20-goal scorers is Philadelphia, although Ville Leino, stuck on 19 goals, could soon make that eight.

Puck drop:
With his goal against the Kings, Thornton has 20 goals or more for the 11th consecutive season. The only active streak that is longer is Jarome Iginla's 12 consecutive seasons with 20 goals or more for the Flames.

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