Ducks Return to Action Against Rival Sharks
Tuesday, 02.01.2011 / 10:59 PM
NHL.comSHARKS (26-19-6) at DUCKS (28-20-4)
-- CSN-California, KDOC.
-- San Jose 5-4-1; Anaheim 7-3-0.
-- This is the fourth of six meetings between the Pacific Division rivals. Anaheim has taken two of the first three showdowns, including a 1-0 victory on Jan. 9 at the Honda Center.
-- It must have been a very enjoyable plane ride from San Jose to Anaheim on Tuesday night following the Sharks' come-from-behind 5-3 victory against the Phoenix Coyotes at HP Pavilion. Todd McLellan's group rallied for three goals in the third period and moved within a point of the No. 6 Coyotes in the Western Conference standings.
Still, McLellan was not pleased with the start his team got off to on Tuesday.
"If we leave here patting ourselves on the back, we've got huge problems," the coach said. "I was really disappointed in our group tonight. Very disappointed in the lack of drive and lack of passion to come out and play. That's the last thing I expected. I do give them credit they found a way to dig in and come back."
Just days after playing in the American Hockey League, backup goaltender Alex Stalock ended up earning his first NHL victory on Tuesday night. Stalock, 23, replaced Antti Niemi after the Sharks fell behind 3-0. He finished with nine saves, including a dazzling pad stop against Shane Doan in the third period.
"It's unbelievable," said Stalock, a fourth-round pick in 2005. "They played unbelievable in the third. That was a huge goal late in the second. To go in and just get a chance and get some time in was unbelievable. To get a win is even better."
He won't be in the lineup Wednesday night, but Ryan Getzlaf
is inching closer to returning after suffering nasal fractures back on Dec. 28. Monday marked the first time the world-class center skated with the club since the injury.
"It felt good to be back out there with the guys again and get skating a little bit," said Getzlaf, who had 37 points in 40 games before getting hurt. "I didn't get to participate in everything, but it was still a lot better than being out there by myself."
-- Joe Pavelski had two goals and an assist for San Jose on Tuesday. The American center now has four points in his last three games. … Ducks rookie defenseman Cam Fowler
has goals in back-to-back games, while fellow blueliner Lubomir Visnovsky
has a goal and 12 assists in his last nine contests.
-- San Jose goalie Antero Niittymaki is out after suffering a lower-body injury during a pre-game skate on Jan. 20. Torrey Mitchell (groin) is also out. … Getzlaf is the lone injured player for Anaheim.
-- Niemi, who struggled mightily Tuesday, had a 1.96 goals-against average during San Jose's recent four-game winning streak. … Teemu Selanne
's power-play goal last Tuesday against Columbus was the 230th of his Hall-of-Fame career.
-- "The first few days were pretty scary for me and my family. It was at the point where they didn't know if there was spinal fluid leaking and other stuff that surrounds your brain. But after a couple of CT scans, we knew we were in the clear in that aspect of it – the brain portion and the long-term effects.
"It was pretty clear how close it was to being some serious damage. I'm lucky and happy to deal with what I did, as opposed to what it could have been. It was just the fractures and I'll be ready to go in a couple of weeks." -- Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf