Ducks-Sharks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 26, 2013
After going almost a month without a regulation defeat, the Anaheim Ducks have suffered three in four days. The visiting Ducks can avoid a fourth straight loss by avenging their latest defeat in Wednesday night's conclusion of a home-and-home set with the San Jose Sharks. Anaheim (22-6-4) was riding a team-record 13-game home winning steak and 9-0-3 overall stretch, but concluded a five-game homestand by being outscored 7-2 in back-to-back losses to Detroit and falling 5-3 to San Jose (14-11-6) on Monday. "We just haven't been anywhere near ourselves, and we haven't been for the last few games,'' defenseman Sheldon Souray said. The Ducks are still on the heels of Western Conference-leading Chicago and feel they have something positive to build on after remaining competitive despite a 3-0 deficit Monday. "There's always peaks and valleys, and we're trying to get out of this valley as quick as possible and start climbing back in the right direction,'' said winger Corey Perry, who had a goal and an assist. "You don't like losing at home, but if we play the same way we played in the second half of the game, we're going to be successful.'' Anaheim, 2-0-3 in its last five road contests, opens a four-game trip by facing the Sharks for the third time in 10 days. The Ducks leads the season series 2-1-1. The Sharks begin a season-high seven-game stay at HP Pavilion, where they're 8-1-4 overall and 3-0-3 since a 5-3 loss to the Blackhawks on Feb. 5. In the mix for the final playoff spot in the tightly bunched West, San Jose has gone 3-5-2 in its past 10 - eight of those games coming on the road. "You've got to take points any time you can get them,'' said coach Todd McLellan, whose team has won two of three. "Proud of the way we responded and how prepared we were (Monday). We've got to make some hay (on the homestand). We've got to put together a string, and it starts with (Anaheim).'' Joe Pavelski, Martin Havlat and Brent Burns each had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who won hours after veteran defenseman Douglas Murray was traded to Pittsburgh for two second-round draft picks. "We're all pros. It doesn't matter who gets traded,'' captain Joe Thornton said. "We know we have to come out and play." Havlat snapped a 15-game goal drought while Pavelski scored for the second time in 19. Pavelski has five goals in his last eight against the Ducks, including one in three straight home matchups. Anaheim's Bobby Ryan has two goals and five assists in his last six against the Sharks. Jonas Hiller has gone 2-0-1 with a 1.29 goals-against average in his past three road starts, and 5-1-1 with a 1.41 GAA in his last seven starts overall. Veteran winger Radek Dvorak could begin his 17th NHL season after signing with Anaheim on Sunday.
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