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The top teams in the Western Conference meet for the first time this season when the Anaheim Ducks host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night in a matchup of Pacific Division rivals.
The Ducks (14-2-5) have managed to gain a point in all but two games this season, and lead the Western Conference with 33 points. The Sharks (15-6-0), meanwhile, have won of six of their last seven games and are three points back.
Teemu Selanne had a career-best five assists, including three on Chris Kunitz's first career hat trick, to lead Anaheim to a 6-4 win over Phoenix on Sunday. The Ducks avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season.
With 497 goals, Selanne is trying to become the 36th player with 500.
"Teemu is just three away from that goals milestone, and tonight just shows what an unselfish player he is," Kunitz said.
"Teemu's looking for us to get the two points (for a win). He's just as happy with an assist as he is with a goal."
Selanne experienced a revival with the Ducks last season, recording 40 goals and 50 assists in 80 games, nearly equaling his 44 goals and 52 assists in 160 games with San Jose and Colorado over the previous two seasons. He spent two-plus seasons with the Sharks from 2001-03.
The 36-year-old Finn leads the team with 24 points this season and has nine in the last four games.
"It's coming," Selanne said of the 500-goal milestone. "I'm not a numbers guy, and I don't really want to start thinking about it. When I see guys open, I try to get the puck to them. I think that's what makes a good player, making the right decisions.
"When it's time to shoot, you shoot, when it's time to pass, you pass. You want to do the right thing."
He has found that balance against his former team, with 40 goals and 41 assists in 53 contests. The 81 points are his second-most against any team.
The Sharks got goals from six players to beat Philadelphia 6-1 on Saturday. The balanced attack came with the league's top goal scorer from last season, Jonathan Cheechoo, out with a leg injury.
"We're usually relying on one or two lines or one our two guys every single night to score," Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren said. "Any time you have a chance to spread the scoring out from our first line to our fourth line and even our defense, it gives more confidence to the guys that haven't been scoring. Everybody did it tonight."
Cheechoo injured his leg in Wednesday's 4-3 win at Colorado, and his status for Tuesday is uncertain. The right wing had 10 goals and three assists in eight games against the Ducks last season.
Cheechoo has only seven goals in 2006-07, but the Sharks are the second-highest scoring team in the West with 70 goals - five behind Anaheim.
Patrick Marleau has gotten off to a fast start and leads San Jose with 12 goals. The Sharks, though, have been just as good defensively so far.
San Jose is among the league leaders in goals-against average with 2.24. The Sharks gave up 2.87 goals per game last season.
Vesa Toskala, who had 17 saves against the Flyers, and Evgeni Nabokov have rotated starts for San Jose this season, which means coach Ron Wilson could go with Nabokov against the Ducks if he sticks to that trend.
Nabokov went 2-3-1 with a 3.20 GAA in six starts against the Ducks last season, while Toskala won his lone start, allowing three goals.
Anaheim and San Jose split eight meetings last season.
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