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Sharks seek home-and-home sweep of Ducks

by Brian Hunter /

DUCKS (22-6-4) at SHARKS (14-11-6)


Last 10: Anaheim 6-3-1; San Jose 3-5-2

Season series: Fifth and final meeting of the regular season between these Pacific Division rivals, and also the completion of a home-and-home. San Jose won 5-3 in Anaheim on Monday to even up the season series at two games apiece.

Big story: Just when it appeared the Ducks might take advantage of a slump by the Blackhawks to chase them down for the Western Conference's top seed, Anaheim has hit a tailspin of its own. The Ducks lost the final three games of a five-game homestand, which doubled the amount of regulation defeats they suffered in their first 29 contests this season. They still hold a 10-point lead in the Pacific, however.

This game marks the start of a four-game road trip for Anaheim and a seven-game homestand for San Jose.

Team Scope:

Ducks: By the time Monday's game was a minute into the second period, Anaheim had already dug itself a 3-0 hole. Owners of the fifth-best offense in the NHL, the Ducks fought back and twice cut their deficit down to a single goal, but could never draw even. Corey Perry had a goal and an assist in the third.

"We've got to just get a bit of a sense of urgency back in our game," defenseman Sheldon Souray said. "We're starting these games possibly thinking it's going to be an easy night. We've got to understand that we've played well all year to put ourselves in the position the other teams are going to be ready for us.

"We should have a little bit of swagger, for sure, and we deserve to be where we are because we've played really well. But we've gotten away from that a little bit."

Sharks: Looking to shake his team from a doldrums that saw it lose seven of its past nine, San Jose general manager Doug Wilson traded popular defenseman Douglas Murray to Pittsburgh on Monday. The Sharks came out later that evening looking motivated and jumped on the Ducks with first-period goals by Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski just 84 seconds apart. Martin Havlat ended a 15-game goal drought by scoring 34 ticks into the second, and the Sharks were off and running.

"We're all pros," center Joe Thornton said. "We got to go out and play. It doesn't matter who gets traded. You got to out play and work hard, and we knew they were coming off back-to-back games and we wanted to start quick, and we did and it worked out in our favor."

Who's hot: Francois Beauchemin scored his fifth goal of the season Monday and boosted his plus/minus to a plus-21, tied with Souray for best on the Ducks and best in the League among defensemen. … James Sheppard's first goal for the Sharks and the 12th of his NHL career ended up as the game-winner.

Injury report: Anaheim forward Nick Bonino (lower body) is on injured reserve. … San Jose forward Ryane Clowe (shoulder) is day-to-day. Goalie Thomas Greiss (neck) and forward Tim Kennedy (undisclosed) are on injured reserve.

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