No longer unbeaten, the San Jose Sharks should be completely focused on trying for their second win in seven days over the surging Anaheim Ducks.
Still without a regulation defeat, the Sharks look to prevent the Ducks from recording a third consecutive victory Monday night.
After becoming the third team in NHL history to win its first five games by at least two goals, San Jose (7-0-1) has had its last three decided in shootouts. The Sharks prevailed against Anaheim (5-1-1) and Edmonton earlier in the week before losing 2-1 at home to Nashville on Saturday.
"These are the type of games we're going to be involved in from now until the end of the year,' San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "It can be a little frustrating that it's not a Picasso, but it's real.'
The Sharks rank among the league leaders with 28 goals but managed only Martin Havlat's game-tying score in the third period Saturday. It was San Jose's only power-play goal in 12 chances after going 12 for 32 (37.4 percent) in the first five games.
"When you look at point production, and that's the be-all, end-all, we have to be somewhat pleased with where we are at," McLellan said. "When we look at our game, we really like some parts and there's other parts we have to work on."
McLellan should be pleased the Sharks have killed 21 straight penalties, including all four Anaheim chances in Tuesday's 3-2 home victory.
Michal Handzus scored the lone shootout goal against the Ducks, who held a 30-18 shot advantage but allowed Logan Couture to tie the score with less than 3 minutes remaining.
"It might not happen on any other night, but (Tuesday) I thought we outplayed them,' Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I can't say anything negative. We outworked them. It's disappointing because we played so hard.'
That's the only loss in four games for Anaheim, which looks to avenge that outcome while trying for a sixth win in eight home contests against the Sharks.
The Ducks blew three leads before scoring the final three goals in Saturday's 7-4 win over Los Angeles. Light-scoring center Nick Bonino had his first career hat trick after scoring six goals in his first 91 NHL games.
"Resiliency. I think that's kind of been one of our mottos," Bonino told the Ducks' official website. "If they strike, we strike right back. We were never down on the bench, we were never down in the locker room. We were always confident and just came out and played hard."
Bonino, who assisted on Teemu Selanne's third goal, has recorded five of his 16 career assists against the Sharks.
Though Anaheim's Jonas Hiller lost at San Jose last week, he's 4-1-0 with a 1.74 goals-against average and two shutouts in his last six home games against the Sharks after losing his first five in the series there.
San Jose's Antti Niemi, 6-0-1 with a 1.80 GAA this season, made 28 saves against the Ducks on Tuesday.
Teammate Joe Thornton has averaged nearly a point a game in his career versus Anaheim, but has been held to five assists over his last 11. Patrick Marleau, who leads the league with nine goals, hasn't scored in his last eight against the Ducks.
Thornton and Marleau may catch a break Monday. Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler's status is in question after he suffered an upper-body injury on a hit from behind by Los Angeles' Jarret Stoll on Saturday.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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