The Anaheim Ducks are no doubt ready to welcome a new opponent to the Honda Center.
The San Jose Sharks probably can't wait to finish up this road trip.
These Pacific Division rivals begin a home-and-home set Monday night in Anaheim that will complete a season series that has been closely contested.
Anaheim (22-5-4) entered this past weekend with a franchise-record 13-game home win streak before back-to-back losses to Detroit, 5-1 on Friday and 2-1 on Sunday. The Ducks have not lost three straight all season.
"That's the one benefit we have of playing a back-to-back game is that we get to go right back at it tomorrow," said center Ryan Getzlaf after his team held a 34-21 edge in shots Sunday.
San Jose (13-11-6), meanwhile, is concluding a five-game trip before hosting Anaheim on Wednesday. The Sharks are 0-3-1 in the first four games.
"We finish up with Anaheim here on Monday, that'll be our 15th of 20 on the road and we've got a lot of home games left," coach Todd McLellan said. "So we're going to win on the road, we're going to do everything we can there and then we're going to take it home and make hay there."
The last nine meetings have been decided by one or two goals, with Anaheim going 7-1-1. The Ducks are 7-2-0 in the last nine matchups at home.
Anaheim fell 3-2 in a shootout at San Jose on Jan. 29 before winning home games over the Sharks by 2-1 on Feb. 4 and 5-3 last Monday. Both teams have gone 0 for 11 on the power play in the season series, although Getzlaf has a short-handed tally.
The Sharks went 0 for 4 with the man advantage and allowed a power-play goal in the third period Saturday in a 2-0 loss to Minnesota, finishing with a 33-24 edge in shots.
"An honest effort, (but) special teams let us down," McLellan said. "It's not that we were horrendous in those areas but they beat us in power-play and penalty-kill situations and other than that, 5-on-5, I thought we played them even or maybe even had more scoring opportunities."
The Sharks' top goal scorers - Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture - have had their share of trouble at the Honda Center in recent years. Marleau has one goal in his last 10 games there and Couture one in seven career games.
While Anaheim is comfortably on top of the division, San Jose is on the outside of the playoff picture looking in after a franchise-record 7-0-0 start.
"It's make or break time right now," Couture said. "It's not like we have a half-season to go here. There have been a lot of things that didn't go the way we wanted to this year. Winning on the road is one of them."
Anaheim is 1 for 16 on the power play over its last seven games, getting its lone tally by Getzlaf on Sunday.
Ducks winger Corey Perry has seven goals and one assist over his last nine games against the Sharks. He missed last Monday's meeting due to a suspension.
The Associated Press News Service
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