To avoid falling further back in the Pacific Division, the San Jose Sharks acquired one of hockey's marquee names at Tuesday's trading deadline. After failing to record a point in his debut, Bill Guerin will try again to produce against one the league's best teams.
Guerin looks to help the struggling Sharks gain ground on the division-leading Anaheim Ducks as the teams face off for the second time this week on Friday night at Honda Center in the start of a key three-game road trip.
Playing his first game after being acquired from St. Louis in a deadline-day deal, Guerin logged more than 20 minutes of ice time and had three shots on goal, but San Jose fell to Central Division-leading Nashville 4-3 in a shootout on Wednesday.
Still, Guerin - who had 28 goals and 47 points as the Blues' leading scorer - was excited to play for a contender.
"I feel comfortable (already)," said Guerin, who played left wing on the Sharks' top line with reigning MVP Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo, last season's goal-scoring leader. "I didn't have my best game, but I like the way our team played. We've got a lot of talent."
Normally a right wing, Guerin didn't have a point in three games versus Anaheim while with the Blues. His 24 assists and 38 points in his career against the Ducks, though, are the most he's had against one team in both categories.
Steve Bernier and Matt Carle scored power-play goals in the first period to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead. Rookie defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic's first goal since Dec. 28 tied the score 3-all with less than 5 minutes to play in regulation, but San Jose (38-24-2) failed to score on Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun in three of four rounds in the shootout.
The loss was the Sharks' third in a row and sixth in eight games, and that slide dropped them into third place in the Pacific. With 78 points, San Jose trails Dallas by two and Anaheim by seven.
After this contest, San Jose plays at Dallas on Sunday and at Minnesota on Tuesday. The Sharks are tied with Nashville and Buffalo for the league lead with 20 road wins, but they are just 2-4-0 in their last six away from HP Pavilion.
Thornton, also last season's Art Ross Trophy winner, has tallied two assists in each of his last three games against the Ducks. He also has a five-game point streak against them with a goal and eight assists in that span.
Anaheim (37-17-11) will have to bounce back quickly after a bad loss. With a 4-3 overtime defeat at Los Angeles on Thursday night, the Ducks were denied their first three-game win streak since early December.
Dustin Penner, Scott Niedermayer and Andy McDonald staked Anaheim to a 3-1 lead with 4:21 to play in the second period. Backup goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, though, gave up three straight goals - including Michael Cammalleri's power-play tally 3:17 into overtime.
"We can't let a team come back like that, and that's what we've been doing lately. So it's very frustrating," Niedermayer said. "We didn't play a consistent game all night."
Jean-Sebastien Giguere likely will be back in net for this contest, looking to reach 30 wins for the second straight season. He's 16-2-5 with a 2.11 goals-against average at home, and made 23 saves in Anaheim's 5-0 win over San Jose - one of three shutouts he's had at Honda Center in 2006-07.
The Ducks have won four of six meetings with the Sharks this season, including a 4-2 victory Monday night in San Jose.