With just one victory between them in their last 11 games combined, the Anaheim Ducks and visiting San Jose Sharks have plenty to prove when they meet Friday.
That one victory between the teams belongs to the Ducks, who traded goals with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday before pulling out a 4-3 home victory in overtime on a breakaway goal from Ryan Strome.
The victory over the Hurricanes ended the Ducks’ six-game losing streak. And while Anaheim is 7-17-3 this season, with an NHL-low 17 points, the team has pushed nine games into overtime. Six of its seven victories have come in overtime or a shootout.
“We found a way to stick in the game,” said Strome, who scored his seventh goal of the season. “We didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot. A lot of times this year, we found ways to lose.”
Max Comtois also scored for the Ducks on Tuesday in his first game since Nov. 12 after he missed 11 games with a lower-body injury.
Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras lead Anaheim, with 27 and 22 points respectively, but the duo was held to a single assist, from Terry, in the victory over the Hurricanes.
“You’ve got to learn how to play in tight games,” said the Ducks’ Adam Henrique, who scored the first goal Tuesday. “Those last few minutes when it’s more high-stress, you have to make those important plays at the right times of the game when it’s tied late. I thought we did a good job of that.”
The Sharks enter on a four-game losing streak, dropping a 6-5 overtime decision to the Vancouver Canucks at home Wednesday. Nick Bonino gave San Jose a 1-0 lead 18 seconds into the game before the Canucks scored the next three goals.
San Jose rallied to take a 5-4 lead at 11:28 of the third period on a goal from Kevin Labanc before allowing the game-tying goal with just under four minutes remaining. Vancouver won it a mere 35 seconds before the game went to a shootout.
“I liked a lot about our game,” San Jose coach David Quinn said. “I know we lost, but I liked our resiliency. I like that we got better and better as the game went on. We were down 3-1 and we battled back.”
The Sharks fell for the seventh time in their past eight contests (1-5-2).
Sharks goalie Eetu Makiniemi made his NHL debut when he took over for Kaapo Kahkonen in the third period. Kahkonen gave up four goals on 19 shots, while Makiniemi gave up two goals on eight shots.
“We fought back and that (means) a lot, that shows our character,” said San Jose’s Jonah Gadjovich, who scored a third-period goal. “But we’ve got to find a way to come up with that extra point.”
Sharks forward Nico Sturm played 18 minutes in his return after an eight-game absence because of an upper-body injury.
The Sharks lost a pair of shootouts to the Ducks at home in early November. After Friday’s game, the teams play just once more, at Anaheim on Jan. 6.
–Field Level Media