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Less than 24 hours after knocking off St. Louis at home, the Ducks have their work cut out for them as they take on the Western Conference frontrunning Sharks in San Jose tonight.
The Ducks posted a 4-2 home victory over St. Louis on Wednesday night, as Chris Kunitz scored twice and Teemu Selanne provided two assists for Anaheim, which scored its last two goals in the final 2:37 of the game.
"We seemed to step up the level of our intensity," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "That is important when you're in situations like that, to have that other gear to go to. We found a way to push across the line."
Anaheim enters having won six of its last eight, but both of those losses came on the road, where the Ducks are 7-4-1 overall. They had won six straight at HP Pavilion before losing their last two visits there.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 26 saves Wednesday, has a 2.16 goals-against average in winning four of his last five starts in San Jose. He's 8-1-1 with a 1.76 GAA in his last 10 outings against the Sharks.
The league-leading Sharks have made losing a rare occurrence this season. Consecutive defeats, however, have been even less common.
Looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss, the Sharks renew their Pacific Division rivalry with the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.
San Jose (22-3-2) last dropped back-to-back contests Nov. 9-11, then responded with nine consecutive victories, including five in a row at home.
Both of those winning streaks, however, came to an end Saturday night with a 3-2 overtime loss to Edmonton. Dan Boyle and Jeremy Roenick scored for the Sharks, who held a 43-17 advantage on shots but couldn't solve Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson.
It's taken exceptional goaltending to beat the Sharks, particularly at home. Nashville's Dan Ellis made 54 saves on Nov. 11 to hand San Jose its only other defeat at HP Pavilion.
"Our two losses here at home have been almost identical, where we have enough chances to win and end up losing in overtime," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan, whose team fell to 3-0-1 on its season-high five-game homestand.
Still, San Jose remains the NHL's only team to have avoided a regulation defeat at home, boasting a league-best 14-0-2 record at HP Pavilion, where it has collected at least a point in a franchise-record 25 consecutive games (22-0-3). The Sharks haven't lost back-to-back contests at home since Feb. 12-14.
That success should continue if they extend their offensive dominance. Leading the NHL with 102 goals, the Sharks have outscored opponents 45-22 in their last 10 games and have converted 32.8 percent (21-for-64) of their power-play opportunities over the last 12.
But San Jose has had mixed offensive results in its first two contests against Anaheim (16-10-3), winning a season-opening matchup 4-1 at home before falling 4-0 on the road Oct. 17.
Selanne has also had success versus San Jose. He has 44 goals - the most he has against any other team - and 86 points in 65 games.
Selanne, who leads the Ducks with 14 goals, will likely match up against San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov, who is 11-0-1 with a 2.06 GAA in 12 home games and leads a defense that's allowed a Western Conference-low 64 goals.
Despite a 1.94 GAA in his last nine starts versus Anaheim, Nabokov is just 4-3-2 in those appearances.
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