|Struggling Ducks host streaking Sharks|
In a far better place than they were 10 days ago, the San Jose Sharks will now test their newfound success with a short stop away from home.
The Sharks put their four-game winning streak on the line in Anaheim against the Ducks on Thursday, feeling far removed from a five-game losing streak, losses in seven of their previous eight games and a 4-10-1 opening to the season.
The Ducks are in a completely opposite place on a four-game losing streak, with all of those defeats at home. Anaheim's reversal of fortune appears just as stark as San Jose's, having started its downturn at home after opening the season 6-1-0 in its own building.
A matchup against the Sharks gives the Ducks one last chance to get things right as their season-long seven-game homestand comes to an end.
The visit to Southern California is just a quick one-game venture away from home for the Sharks to test the waters of their recent success. They went 4-2 on a just-completed six-game homestand and will return to the Bay Area immediately after Thursday's game to play two more at home.
San Jose's most recent win came Tuesday, when they matched a season high with six goals in a 6-3 defeat of the Edmonton Oilers. Six different players scored goals for the Sharks, including Evander Kane, who tallied his team-leading 11th of the season.
"We've been putting a lot of effort into our team game, and it's important that you see results from that," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think there's been a big effort by our group to tighten up defensively, and usually when that happens, the goals go in. It's nice to get rewarded for that kind of work though, and the goals did go in."
The Sharks and Ducks already met once this season on Oct. 5, also at Anaheim. Again, the teams were in opposite places, as the Ducks' 3-1 victory over the Sharks was part of their three-game winning streak to open the schedule. The Sharks were in the midst of four consecutive defeats to start the season.
Adam Henrique, who is tied for the Ducks' team lead in goals with eight, scored in the first meeting with San Jose, as did captain Ryan Getzlaf, who has seven goals on the season.
Since that strong opening to the season, it has been a bumpy road for the Ducks. They have not won more than two consecutive games since.
Anaheim will enter off a 4-3 overtime defeat to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday when they gave up the game-tying goal with 37 seconds remaining in regulation. The Ducks' late collapse was fueled by taking two penalties in the closing moments of regulation.
The Ducks hope for smarter play in the 1,000th home game in franchise history Thursday.
"Turnovers put us in a bad spot," Getzlaf said. "Penalties happen when you turn the puck over. ... We didn't make decisions to put the puck deep and keep working. It's a frustrating learning lesson when you have to figure those things out."
--Field Level Media