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Ducks, Sharks battle for top spot in Pacific Division
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks have got winning at home down to a science. It's picking up victories on the road that has given the club trouble lately.
The Ducks look to solve those road issues on Saturday night as they visit the San Jose Sharks in a battle for first place in the Pacific Division.
Anaheim is tied atop the division standings with San Jose, with both teams having notched 39 points on the season. The Ducks could be well ahead if not for an 8-7-2 road mark compared to a 10-0-1 record as the hosting club.
The Ducks remained the only team left in the NHL with a regulation defeat at home when they bested the Calgary Flames 5-2 on Friday night. Dustin Penner scored twice, while Andrew Cogliano and Corey Perry notched a goal and an assist each.
Sami Vatanen also scored and Frederik Anderson improved to 7-1-0 in eight games this season after making 19 saves. Saku Koivu had an assist in his return from a 15-game absence caused by a concussion.
"We want to get some confidence to take into next week because we've got some pretty stiff competition," said Penner. "We're going to need the team feeling as confident as possible."
Penner was referring to an upcoming four-game stretch that begins tonight. After taking on the Sharks, the Ducks return home to face the Los Angeles Kings, who are three points back of Anaheim in the division, on Tuesday before visiting Western Conference powerhouses Chicago and St. Louis on back-to-back nights starting on Friday.
Getting on track as the road club will be key. While the Ducks are off to their best home start in franchise history, they have lost five of their last six on the road.
Things don't get any easier tonight as the Sharks are looking to complete a five-game homestand perfect after besting the Blues 6-3 on Friday night. Brent Burns keyed his club's seventh victory in eight games with his first career hat trick.
Burns lit the lamp twice as part of a four-goal first period for San Jose and added a power-play goal in the third.
"We knew it was going to be a big game against these guys," said Burns. "Two teams that we both feel were at the top of our game, so it was big. It was pretty special."
Joe Thornton, Tommy Wingels and Tomas Hertl also scored in the victory while Antti Niemi stopped 21-of-24 shots he faced in net. Thornton and Joe Pavelski also had two assists, while Logan Couture notched three helpers.
San Jose improved to 9-1-2 as the hosting club this season and has won its past two at home versus Anaheim.
The Ducks have won eight of the last 12 meetings overall.
11/30 11:22:01 ET