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Sharks hope to bounce back against Ducks

by Frank Mentesana
DUCKS (3-1-0) at SHARKS (1-2-0)


Season series: It's the second of six meetings between the Pacific division rivals, who square off for the second time in four days and then don't see each other again until Dec. 26. Behind 31 saves by Jonas Hiller and Maxime Macenauer's first NHL goal, the Ducks shut out San Jose in their home opener on Friday, 1-0. The teams split their six matchups last season, with each club winning two of three games at home.
Big Story: Since Anaheim's victory on Friday, these teams have each played one game and it was against the same opponent: the St. Louis Blues. The Sharks were doubled up by the Blues on Saturday, 4-2, as their offense has substantially slowed down after posting six goals in their season opener. The exact opposite is true for the Ducks, whose first line finally broke out in a 4-2 win over St. Louis on Sunday. In recording its third straight victory, Anaheim posted its largest offensive output of the season, as Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf combined for their first 6 points of the season.
Team Scope:

Ducks: Perhaps the offense was jolted by "Corey Perry Night," as the reigning Hart Trophy winner was honored in a pre-game ceremony before Sunday’s game. Fittingly, Perry scored his first goal of the season, which proved to be the game-winner, as Anaheim tallied three times in less than a five-minute span early in the third to take a commanding 4-1 lead. Ryan notched his first two goals of the season and added an assist, and Getzlaf chipped in with a pair of assists. While many in Anaheim wondered when the Ducks' superstars would find the scoresheet, Ryan was confident it wouldn’t take much longer, and he was proven right Sunday evening at the Honda Center.

"We realized it wasn't going to (continue)," Ryan said. "We're too good and we've had too much chemistry in the past for it to really stay away from us. It's not going to last forever, so we were happy to do it tonight."

Backup netminder Dan Ellis could see his first action of the season on Monday, as Hiller has been on the ice for every second of Anaheim's four games. The 29-year-old Hiller looks to be in top form -- stopping 73 of the last 76 shots he has faced -- after missing almost three months at the end of last season due to symptoms related to vertigo.

Sharks: San Jose held a 2-1 lead after two periods against St. Louis, but former Sharks defenseman Kent Huskins tied the game 4:33 into the third and Alexander Steen scored almost five minutes later to put the Blues ahead for good. The Sharks outshot St. Louis 36-20, but fell for the second time in as many nights and lost to the Blues at home for the first time in nearly two years. After a solid start to the season in goal, Thomas Greiss was outdueled by Brian Elliott, who stopped all 13 shots he faced in the final period.

"We didn't make a lot of mistakes," coach Todd McLellan said after the game. "But we made enough for them to score."

Who's Hot: In addition to Anaheim's top line, Francois Beauchemin had a solid effort on Sunday, tallying a goal and an assist. … Ryan Clowe had two assists in the loss to St. Louis, giving him 3 points in San Jose’s first three games.

Injury Report: After suffering a deep laceration just above his left wrist against San Jose on Friday, Jason Blake was diagnosed with tendon damage and is undergoing corrective surgery on Monday. He is expected to miss three months and has been placed on Injured Reserve, joining Matt Smaby (hand). Matt Beleskey made his return from shoulder surgery and played in his first game of the season against the Blues, totaling just 4:38 of ice time. … Sharks starter Antti Niemi has dressed for the last two games to serve as Greiss' backup, but he has said he feels well enough to play after a procedure to remove a cyst in his knee. Forward Martin Havlat (shoulder surgery) still looks to make his Sharks debut as he has also yet to play this season, and goaltender Antero Niittymaki (abdominal surgery) is a couple of months from returning.

Stat Pack: The Ducks have surrendered seven goals through their first four regular season games, setting a club record for the fewest goals allowed over their first four games. Hiller is the main reason for the franchise mark, posting a 1.71 goals-against average and a .934 save-percentage. Perry's goal not only served as the winner, but it was also Anaheim's first power-play tally of the season. They were 0-for-13 entering the game, and finished the night 1-for-17 on the young season.

Puck Drop: The Ducks' 3-1-0 start is their best start through four games since 2006-07, when they won the Stanley Cup. The Ducks posted a 3-0-1 record to start that season.
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