Morning Report: True Test Awaits for Ducks
There was little time to rest for the Ducks after yesterday’s victory, as the team immediately boarded a plane bound for San Jose. Tonight, in the second of back-to-backs, the Ducks and Sharks will renew their Pacific Division rivalry at the SAP Center in San Jose at 7:30 p.m. PT (Prime Ticket, AM 830).
It’ll be the battle of the top-two teams in the division, with both clubs coming off victories yesterday. For the Ducks (18-7-3, 39 points), it was a 5-2 win over Calgary for their 18th consecutive regular season home victory against the Flames (dating back to Jan. 19, 2004), the longest such streak against any opponent in franchise history. San Jose (17-3-5, 39 points) was fueled by Brent Burns’ first career hat trick in a 6-3 victory over the Blues, giving St. Louis just its four regulation loss of the season. The Sharks have only lost three times in regulation and only once at home.
“It's going to be a tough one,” said Saku Koivu (who earned two assists in his return to the lineup yesterday). “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."
Tonight’s game for the Ducks marks the first of four against the league’s elite. After tonight, the Ducks will come home to host the Kings (16-6-4, 36 points) on Tuesday before embarking on a two-game road trip through Chicago (19-4-4, 42 points) and St. Louis, (18-4-3, 39 points). The Blackhawks, Blues, Sharks and Ducks represent the top-four teams in the league standings.
“It’s going to let us know where we are in the next four games,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “San Jose, Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis are the top-four teams in the league. It’ll give us a real good barometer of where we’re at. In that sense, we’re looking forward to seeing where we’re at.”
Tonight marks the first of five season series contests. The two clubs will meet again on Dec. 29 (SJ), Dec. 31 (ANA), Mar. 20 (SJ) and Apr. 9 (ANA). Over the last 12 contests dating to Apr. 6, 2011, Anaheim has gone 8-3-1 against the Sharks. All-time, the Ducks have gone 52-52-9 against the Sharks, including a 27-25-4 mark at SAP Center. Last year’s season series saw Anaheim post a 2-2-1 record vs. San Jose, and captain Ryan Getzlaf led the club in scoring vs. San Jose last season, collecting five points (1g/4a) in five games. Teemu Selanne leads Anaheim in scoring vs. San Jose, collecting 96 points (50g/46a) in 89 career contests.