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Ducks, Sharks meet in battle of Pacific's best

by Mike Battaglino

DUCKS (18-7-3) at SHARKS (17-3-5)


Last 10: Anaheim 4-4-2; San Jose 7-2-1

Season series: This is the first of five games. The San Jose Sharks won three of the five last season, including the last two in March by a combined score of 9-3.

Big story: San Jose has made a statement with wins against the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues heading into this one. Anaheim starts a four-game streak here that includes games against the Kings, Blues and Chicago Blackhawks.

"We both have very strong, skilled teams," Ducks forward Dustin Penner told Prime Sports. "We bring a lot of speed and great goaltending. It's going to be a good tight game."

Team Scope:

Ducks: Saku Koivu returned to the Anaheim lineup Friday in a 5-2 win against the Calgary Flames. The veteran forward missed 15 games with a concussion and expects to play again Saturday.

"This was a good game for me to get in," Koivu told Prime. "We didn't have any penalty-killing, which I'm a part of, so it kind of gave me a little bit of a break, and because of the score, we were able to roll all four lines throughout the game. So, I don't think minutes got too much of anybody, and it was a good game to get my feel back."

Koivu played 13:17 and had two assists.

"It's going to be a tough one [Saturday]," he said. "First of all, having the back-to-back game, going into their building. They are probably one of the toughest teams to play on the road. We've had some good matchups against them in the last couple of years. It should be a fun one, but it's going to be a great, great challenge for our club."

Sharks: With a 6-3 win against St. Louis on Friday, San Jose is 11-0-1 with forward Brent Burns in the lineup.

"Brent's a legit power forward," Tommy Wingels told NHL Network. "He creates space out there for himself and for other guys on the ice, and I think you see the success we have when he is in our lineup. Him scoring three goals [Friday], he's got a heck of a shot, and if he can continue to get that on net and create those scoring chances for his line, we're going to be in good shape."

Burns, who returned from a facial injury Nov. 21, has not played back-to-back games this season.

"Hopefully, the legs are going to keep getting better and better," Burns told the Sharks website. "I felt like I stayed in really good shape, but gym-shape and then game-shape is different."

Who's hot: Penner, with two goals Friday, has nine this season after nine in 98 games the prior two seasons. He has seven points his past five games. Forward Ryan Getzlaf has 14 points (seven goals) during a nine-game point streak. Forward Nick Bonino has a three-game point streak and five in four games. Goalie Frederik Andersen has started his NHL career 7-1-0 with a 1.70 goals-against average and .939 save percentage. … Burns had a hat trick and assist Friday and has six points in four games since returning. Forward Joe Thornton has six points in a four-game streak.

Injury report: Ducks defensemen Sheldon Souray (wrist) and Luca Sbisa (wrist), forward Jakob Silfverberg (hand) and goaltender Viktor Fasth (lower body) are on injured reserve. Defensemen Bryan Allen (lower body) and Francois Beauchemin (upper body) are out. ... Sharks forwards Adam Burish (back) and Raffi Torres (knee) are on IR.

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