In a rematch of their game Sunday, the San Jose Sharks play host to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks Tuesday night at HP Pavilion. The Ducks squeaked out a win in their meeting two days ago after Rob Nidedermayer tipped in a puck shot by his brother Scott, giving Anaheim the 5-4 victory.
In the first meeting of the season between the two Pacific Division rivals back on Nov. 4, the Sharks outlasted Anaheim, 1-0 in overtime thanks to a goal from Marcel Goc. Team Teal looks to get back on the winning track tonight, after the Ducks snapped their season long six-game win streak.
“We came out with four goals, but I think we’re most disappointed with giving up five,” Alyn McCauley said of the Sharks last meeting with Anaheim. “There were some mistakes made out there that usually aren’t characteristic of our hockey club, so if there’s one thing we were to focus on, it’d be better defensive zone play.”
With veteran defenseman Kyle McLaren still out due to his minor knee surgery, the defense has been thin, allowing players like Tom Preissing, Jim Fahey and Christian Ehrhoff to step up and log more minutes. Tonight will mark the return of another defenseman, Josh Gorges, who will step in for the injured McLaren.
“It’s exciting to get the chance to be back out there,” Gorges said. “It’s what you play for; to be on this team. It’ll be great to be out there tonight and hopefully we can come out with a win.”
Gorges was recalled from Cleveland on Dec. 15, but has been a healthy scratch in each of the last two games. The Kelowna, British Columbia native will try to keep it simple tonight against Anaheim.
“I think tonight we need to go out and play a simple game and move the puck really quick,” Gorges said. “They’re a hard working team that comes at you and moves the puck extremely well, so we want to limit their time in space and make them make a tough play. Hopefully we can create some turnovers and get them into our forwards hands and let them go to work down there.”
The Sharks are also looking forward to the return of their spark plug Scott Parker. The intimidating right wing will be playing in just his second game of the season tonight, after suffering from recurring problems since taking a puck to the head in training camp.
“I feel a lot better than I did in Edmonton (in late November),” Parker said. “We were just giving it a try in Edmonton. I wasn’t quite 100 percent. Probably about 80. But I just want to contribute.”
Scoring goals has not been a problem of late, as the Sharks have posted four or more goals in each of their last seven games.
“I think in order to bounce back tonight, we need a little more energy,” Josh Langfeld said. “And ‘Parksie’ should help us out with that tonight. It’s a big game though. We need to come out and establish a good forecheck and get on them. If we make it difficult for them, we’ll be all right.”
CARLE NAMED RED BARON WCHA DEFENSIVE POW University of Denver defenseman Matt Carle, who was instrumental at both ends of the ice while helping the Pioneers to a two-game conference road sweep at Minnesota Duluth last weekend, has been named Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Dec. 19-25. Carle also earned co-Defensive Player of the Week honors on Dec. 5.
A 6-foot, 195-pound junior from Anchorage, Alaska, Carle contributed four points in the series. He had eight hits and recorded six blocked shots from his blueline position as Denver earned 4-2 and 3-1 victories over the host Bulldogs. Carle helped key a defensive team effort that yielded just three goals and blanked UMD on all 12 of their powerplay chances.
Denver's co-captain, a 2003 second round (47th overall) NHL Entry Draft selection of San Jose and an All-WCHA First Team last season, Carle is the WCHA¹s top scoring defenseman in 2005-06 with eight goals and 19 assists for 27 points in 20 games and is tied for first in scoring among all blueliners nationally.
TONIGHT’S GAME Tickets for tonight’s game are still available at the HP Pavilion Box Office or all Ticketmaster locations, including ticketmaseter.com. The game can be seen on FSN Bay Area or heard on the Sharks Radio Network and sjsharks.com.