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Sharks host rival Ducks

The Pacific Division-rival Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks will square off for the second time in four days when the two clubs collide tonight from HP Pavilion.

The Ducks blanked the Sharks, 1-0, on Friday at the Honda Center, as Maxime Macenauer registered his first career goal and Jonas Hiller made 31 saves for his 12th career shutout. Anaheim was playing it home opener after splitting two games in Europe last weekend.

"I felt comfortable tonight, but it was a great game by our whole team. It's nice to get these kind of games early in the season," Hiller said.

Hiller then made 28 saves in Sunday's 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues and Bobby Ryan finished with two goals and an assist for the Ducks, who have ripped off three straight victories. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry scored his first goal of the season. Hiller has played in all four games this season and could get some rest tonight in favor of Dan Ellis.

Ducks forward Jason Blake is expected to undergo corrective surgery Monday to repair a damaged tendon just above his left wrist. Blake suffered a deep cut against the Sharks on Friday and could miss up to three months.

Anaheim is off to its best start through four games since 2006-07, when it opened 3-0-1, and has allowed just seven goals over the first four regular- season games, the fewest ever permitted in the first four games in franchise history.

Sharks goaltender Thomas Greiss stopped 22 shots in the recent loss to the Ducks before allowing three goals on 19 shots in Saturday's 4-2 setback versus the Blues. Michal Handzus and Brent Burns both scored in the recent defeat for San Jose, which has dropped back-to-back games since a season-opening win versus Phoenix on Oct. 8.

"I'm disappointed in our start," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "We weren't prepared to play a grind-it-out game. We wanted to play this fancy puck possession stuff against a team that wanted to grind it out."

The Sharks are expected to have goaltender Antti Niemi back between the pipes for his 2011-12 debut after he had a cyst removed from his knee in training camp. Niemi backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup championship two years ago and signed a four-year contract extension with San Jose in March. He has backed up Greiss in each of the past two contests.

San Jose will hit the road for a six-game trek against the Devils, Bruins, Predators, Red Wings, Islanders and Rangers after tonight's tilt. Sharks captain Joe Thornton could reach a milestone on the trip, as he is four games shy of 1,000 for his career.

Anaheim has won two straight and four of the last six meetings with the Sharks. These two rivals have split the previous 16 matchups in San Jose.