By Alan Ferguson
San Jose (51-16-11) at Anaheim (41-32-6), 8:00 p.m. EDT
ANAHEIM, California (AP) -- Facing the NHL-leading San Jose
Sharks on their home ice and one of the league's best
goaltenders proved no problem for the Anaheim Ducks and their
high-powered top line.
Looking to move closer to their fourth straight playoff berth,
the surging Ducks will search for another victory over their
short-handed Pacific Division rivals in Sunday night's finale of
a home-and-home series.
Anaheim (41-32-6) has charged up the Western Conference
standings by scoring 42 goals while winning nine of its last 10.
In seventh place with a two-point lead over Nashville and St.
Louis, the Ducks will look to match their season high with a
fifth straight win.
Bobby Ryan has six goals during the Ducks' run, and he scored
twice against Evgeni Nabokov in Saturday's 5-2 win in San Jose,
becoming the team's first rookie to reach 30 in a season.
A likely Calder Trophy candidate, Ryan has six goals and four
assists during a five-game streak, and his 56 points also set a
franchise rookie record.
With Ryan, linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have helped
the Ducks score at least three goals in 10 straight games and at
least four in each of its past four wins.
"They were flat-out dominant," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said
of the Ducks' top line "They were the top players in the game.
We had last change, we could have matched anybody we wanted, but
it wouldn't have mattered. They were playing that well."
Getzlaf, leading Anaheim with 85 points, had four assists
Saturday for a franchise-best 60 this season, and has two goals
and 10 assists during his own five-game streak. Perry, tied with
Ryan for the goal-scoring lead, has tallied eight with four
assists in the past 10 contests.
The Ducks also have converted 42.1 percent of their power-play
chances during that time, going 16-for-38 and scoring on the man
advantage in six straight games.
That has helped Jonas Hiller win each of his last seven starts,
posting a 2.19 goals-against average. He recorded his first win
in five lifetime appearances against the Sharks by stopping 28
Despite a slew of injuries, San Jose has remained in the hunt
for their first Presidents' Trophy, but have a one-point lead
over Boston heading into Sunday's play. The Sharks (51-16-11)
are close to clinching the West's top spot, holding a six-point
advantage over Detroit with five games left for the Red Wings.
With leading goal scorer and captain Patrick Marleau missing the
last three games due to a lower-body injury, San Jose has
managed just two goals in each, and 11 in the last five. The
Sharks have also been without forwards Ryane Clowe (lower body),
Mike Grier (knee) and Torrey Mitchell (fractured leg), but are
3-2-0 in their last five thanks to Nabokov.
Despite missing 14 games, the San Jose netminder is second in
the league with 40 wins and had given up 30 goals in his last 16
appearances before Saturday while going 12-2-1. The Ducks scored
twice in the first 5:46 and had the game's final three goals.
"We weren't very good, and we were playing against a determined
team that's fighting for its playoff lives," forward Jeremy
Roenick said. "We can't have games like this. It's
In his last trip to Anaheim, Nabokov stopped 34 shots in a 1-0
victory - his sixth shutout of the season - and he is 4-2-0 with
a 1.84 GAA in his last six starts against the Ducks.
Despite their drop in offensive production, the Sharks have
scored a power-play goal in 10 consecutive games, converting 11
of 30 opportunities.
The Sharks hold a 3-2-0 edge in the season series and are 5-2-2
in the last nine visits to the Honda Center.