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Sharks-Ducks Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM

Associated Press

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San Jose Sharks vs. Anaheim Ducks

Six points behind San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division, the Ducks will look to close that gap when they tangle with the Sharks tonight for the final time in the regular season.

In the season series thus far the Ducks hold a 5-1-1 record, but fell 2-1 in the last matchup between the teams on March 21 in San Jose.

The Ducks, who haven't lost at home in 10 straight contests dating back to Feb. 15, opened their three-game homestand with a 2-1 shootout victory over Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Bobby Ryan scored the lone regulation goal, while Mathieu Schneider and Teemu Selanne had shootout tallies for the defending division and Stanley Cup champions, who reached the postseason for the third straight year and sixth time in the franchise's 14-year history.

Rookie Jonas Hiller made 31 saves through overtime, then stopped five of six shootout attempts for Anaheim, which has won five of six overall to move into fourth in the West.

"Now we're in a position to improve for home-ice advantage," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, whose team will play three of its remaining four games at the Honda Center. "We just want to get our game to the level where we feel we can be competitive against the best teams."

Hiller, who has made three straight starts in place of the injured Jean-Sebastien Giguere (back spasms), turned aside a season-high 41 shots on March 21.

Giguere, who is 5-0-1 with a shutout and a 1.44 GAA in six games against the Sharks this season, practiced Thursday and could return Friday.

Ryan Getzlaf, the Ducks' leader with 54 assists and 77 points, may also be back after missing two games with an upper body injury.

San Jose (46-21-10) trailed Anaheim and Dallas in the Pacific for the better part of 2007-08, and sat nine points out of the lead following a season-high five-game skid from Feb. 12-20. The team, though, went on to win 15 of its next 17 games (15-0-2) to build a six-point advantage on the Ducks (44-26-8) and a 12-point edge over the Stars.

The Sharks, who have not suffered a regulation loss since falling to New Jersey on Feb. 20, are coming off a 3-2 overtime victory over visiting Dallas on Thursday.

Joe Thornton scored his second goal of the game with 2:02 left in the extra period, and Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves for his league-leading 44th win as San Jose assured itself home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

"We've been playing real good hockey to get us in this position," said Thornton, who tops the league with 65 assists and has a team-leading 91 points - tied for fourth in the NHL. "We just need to continue it. It's going to be good to have home ice for the first little bit."

San Jose boasts the league's second-best overall record, six points behind Detroit (108) in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.

The Sharks have five games remaining, including three on the road, where they have won nine of 10 for a league-best 26-8-4 mark. San Jose is 8-4-4 at the Honda Center since the start of 2002-03.

Nabokov, who is 13-0-1 with a 1.92 goals-against average in his last 15 starts, is 2-2-2 with a 1.77 GAA in six starts this season versus the Ducks.

He has won just two of his last six games in Anaheim, where the Ducks have won a franchise-record 10 straight, the longest home winning streak in the league this season.

INJURY NOTES: After the Ducks' morning skate at Honda Center on Friday, it appears that both Ryan Getzlaf and Jean-Sebastien Giguere will be game-time decisions for tonight's game with the Sharks.

Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle touched briefly on both situations after the skate.

"Getzlaf's definitely showing improvement," Carlyle said. "Giguere is also progressing. I will have a conversation with him. We have to be careful with this. With what happened the last time, where the player was injured while putting his equipment on, we're going to wait to make sure everything is right before we make any decision on Giguere."

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 28 '08 SJS 3 at ANA 1 J. Roenick
Mar 21 '08 ANA 1 at SJS 2 J. Roenick
Jan 13 '08 SJS 3 at ANA 4 - OT F. Beauchemin
Dec 22 '07 ANA 5 at SJS 2 C. Kunitz
Dec 18 '07 ANA 2 at SJS 0 C. Perry
Dec 16 '07 SJS 2 at ANA 1 - SO J. Thornton
Nov 17 '07 ANA 2 at SJS 1 - SO C. Perry
Nov 09 '07 SJS 2 at ANA 3 - SO R. Getzlaf is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.