Ducks Battle Rival Sharks
Saturday, 11.21.2009 / 4:00 PM
SHARKS (15-5-4) at DUCKS (7-10-3)
Last 10 --
San Jose 6-1-3; Anaheim 4-4-2
Season series --
The Sharks pay their second visit to the Honda Center. They spoiled the Ducks' season-opener with a 4-1 victory at Anaheim on Oct. 3. The teams then meet three times in San Jose before the Sharks' next and last visit on March 14.
Big story --
This is the second of a seven-game homestand that the Ducks have to turn into points if they hope to get back into the playoff race in the West. They couldn't hold a 3-0 lead on Thursday night against Tampa Bay, but went home with two points when Scott Niedermayer scored a power-play goal 52 seconds into overtime for a 4-3 victory.
The Ducks will have to shut down San Jose's top line to have any chance to win. Dany Heatley scored three goals and Joe Thornton had four assists in Friday's 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at the Shark Tank.
There's no official NHL record for the shortest hat trick -- but if there were, Dany Heatley might hold it. Heatley had his ninth career three-goal game and second as a Shark in Friday's 6-3 win over Philadelphia. The combined distance of all three goals probably wouldn't add up to 10 feet -- two were tap-ins and one was a rebound in the crease.
Both tap-ins came off passes from Joe Thornton, who seemed to wait all night before finding Heatley's stick.
"It was typical Jumbo," Heatley said of Thornton's pass on the second goal -- a mirror image of the first. "He's got such great patience. He waited and waited and waited, and gave me a tap-in."
Anaheim's confidence has been fragile for much of the season, and blowing a 3-0 lead against Tampa Bay didn't help. But finding a way to win in overtime should give the Ducks a boost.
"We feel a lot better about ourselves today than we did the day before yesterday," coach Randy Carlyle said Friday. "That is what we're trying to build on. First and foremost, the work ethic that we displayed from the start of the hockey game was critical. We have to provide ourselves with an opportunity to have a good start. It is a starting point for your group for what night’s work they are going to have to put in."
Who's hot --
Anaheim's Corey Perry
has a 13-game points streak, the longest in the NHL this season, and Ryan Getzlaf
has points in 12 of his last 13. … Heatley's hat trick gave him 17 goals, the most in the League. Thornton's four assists gave him 24, also tops in the League.
Injury report --
Anaheim center Saku Koivu
practiced Friday for the first time since going down with a groin strain that's forced him to miss five games. He could return against the Sharks, as could defenseman James Wisniewski
, who left Thursday's game with a bruised foot but said it felt much better on Friday. … San Jose's Brad Staubitz will miss a couple of weeks after taking a puck in the face during Monday's practice.
Stat pack --
Niedermayer's OT goal was his 13th, the most by any defenseman since the NHL instituted overtime for the 1983-84 season. … Thornton became the 73rd NHL player to reach 600 career assists when he had four on Friday night. San Jose is the only Western team that has gotten at least a point in all of its home games. The Sharks are 7-0-2 at HP Pavilion.
Puck drop --
"It's going to be a big test for us tomorrow, playing against us a team that we beat in the playoffs last year, a divisional rival and one of the hottest teams in the League." -- Anaheim defenseman James Wisniewski