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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 31st (All times Eastern)
San Jose Sharks (25-8-6) at Anaheim Ducks (28-8-5), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - On Sunday, the San Jose Sharks snapped the longest winning streak in the history of the Anaheim Ducks.
Looking to make up more ground in the Pacific Division, the Sharks next try to deal the Ducks their first regulation loss of the season at the Honda Center when the clubs wrap a home-and-home series on Tuesday night.
The Ducks carried a 10-game win streak into San Jose on Sunday, but left town with a 3-1 defeat. It was Anaheim's first loss since a shootout decision to Los Angeles on Dec. 3 and first in regulation since Nov. 26 versus Dallas.
Anaheim had been 11-0-2 in its previous 13 games.
But San Jose came out flying on Sunday. Brent Burns scored just 77 seconds into the game, Logan Couture added another first-period tally and Bracken Kearns netted the first of his career midway through the second period.
Antti Niemi did his part with 30 saves as the Sharks won their fourth in a row and pulled within five points of the Ducks for first place in the division.
"A huge two games," noted Sharks captain Joe Thornton. "We kind of spoke about that before the game. These four points are huge. They're kind of running away with our division right now and tonight we kind of grabbed them and brought them back a little bit. But it's going to be another huge game against them on Tuesday so we'll be ready. But to get this one at home is huge."
It was also a huge night for Kearns and Couture.
The 32-year-old Kearns potted his first career goal in what was his eighth NHL game and second this season.
Couture, meanwhile, snapped an 11-game goal drought to finally notch his 100th career tally.
"It's about time. I'm happy to score. I forgot what it felt like," said Couture, who scored for the first time since Dec. 3 at Toronto.
The Sharks have won their first two meetings with the Ducks this season, both in San Jose, and have won four in a row in this series overall.
Niemi was in net for both wins this season, improving to 9-7-0 with a 2.31 goals against average in his career versus the Ducks.
San Jose improved to 14-1-3 at home this season and is a more modest 11-7-3 on the road.
Anaheim dropped to 14-8-3 on the road and is off to its best start at home in franchise history with a 14-0-2 mark at the Honda Center. The Ducks begin a four-game residency tonight having won five of their last seven at home versus the Sharks.
Patrick Maroon scored in the third period in Sunday's loss and Frederik Anderson made 20 saves.
"I think in the first period, the first five minutes, they came out flying. We knew they were going to do that," Maroon said. "They took it right out of us. They came out hitting and we were flat-footed."
Jonas Hiller may get the start in this rematch for the Ducks and is 7-10-2 lifetime versus the club with a 2.29 GAA.
12/31 11:01:05 ET
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