Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 10:29 PM
Even after five-day breaks between games, the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks are still entering Friday night's matchup at the Honda Center in recovery mode.
Anaheim (1-1-0) has used parts of its break readjusting to its schedule after playing its first two games in Europe. After falling to Buffalo 4-1 last Friday in Helsinki, the Ducks beat the New York Rangers 2-1 in a shootout Saturday in Stockholm.
Coach Randy Carlyle hopes his team will be rested enough - and recovered from the 10-hour time difference - to get back into the swing of things Friday.
"This recovery from Europe isn't just a one-day or a two-day event when you travel the number of hours we did and the difference in time change," Carlyle said. "There's some nights now where they're ... having trouble getting to sleep."
The Sharks (1-0-0) dominated Phoenix 6-3 on Saturday despite the absences of goaltender Antti Niemi and forward Martin Havlat. Niemi is recovering after having a cyst removed from his knee and said he's "50-50" about whether he'll start against Anaheim.
If Niemi can't go, Thomas Greiss will likely make his second start after stopping 26 shots Saturday. Greiss spent last season on loan in Sweden due to the acquisitions of Niemi and Antero Niittymaki, the latter of whom is expected to miss another two months with a groin injury.
"The team played very well from the get-go so that took the pressure a little bit off me," Greiss said.
Havlat, acquired from Minnesota for Dany Heatley during the offseason, had shoulder surgery in May, but he's been practicing this week while waiting for a doctor's clearance to play.
Patrick Marleau had two assists Saturday, but he hasn't practiced this week while battling the flu. Coach Todd McLellan said he expects Marleau to be in the lineup Friday, though.
Joe Pavelski and Andrew Desjardins each scored twice Saturday for the Sharks, who seemed to be clicking despite an offseason of moves that gave a different look to the roster.
"Everybody played well, everybody skated well," captain Joe Thornton said. "The lines worked out well. Everyone is still learning each other so we can still get better. But it was a good game."
The Ducks have many of the same faces back, but have mustered only two goals in their first two games. Bobby Ryan
scored the only goal in the shootout on Saturday, while Jonas Hiller
made 14 saves.
Anaheim, though, is 0 for 11 on the power play after converting 23.5 percent of its chances last season - tied for second with San Jose.
"Our power play right now is the one thing that's not clicking the way it should," defenseman Cam Fowler
said. "I think it's just getting that chemistry back to where we left off last season. If all five guys aren't on the same page, that's when things can get a little rough out there."
The Ducks converted 36.4 percent on the power play while splitting six meetings with the Sharks last season. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry
had five goals and six assists in those contests, including a hat trick in Anaheim's 6-2 victory April 6.