Sports

Ducks seek 7th straight win vs. Sharks

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks will try to match their longest winning streak of the season and extend their lead atop the NHL standings when they visit the rival San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

The Ducks have won six straight and lead the NHL with 70 points, three more than the Nashville Predators.

Another victory tonight would give Anaheim its third seven-game win streak of the season. Bruce Boudreau's club won seven straight from Oct. 11-24 and again from Dec. 1-13.

The Ducks won five straight before the All-Star break and kept the hot streak going with Tuesday's 4-0 triumph in Vancouver. Frederik Andersen only needed to stop 17 shots for his third shutout of the campaign and he improved to 27-6-5 on the season.

Andersen also tied an NHL record for the quickest goaltender to reach 47 career wins. The 25-year-old Dane reached the mark in 63 career decisions (47-11-5) to tie Bill Durnan, who notched his 47th win for the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 26, 1944.

Rickard Rakell had a goal and an assist while Patrick Maroon, Matt Beleskey and Kyle Palmieri also scored for the Ducks, who hold a 14-point lead over second-place San Jose for the Pacific Division lead.

"The whole team is getting stronger," said Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm. "We feel like we're playing good out there. We just need to keep it up."

Andersen, who has started 39 of 48 games for Anaheim this season, could get a rare night off either tonight or on Friday when the Ducks are scheduled to host Chicago. He is 5-0-1 with a 1.29 goals against average in six career outings against the Sharks.

Ducks backup Ilya Bryzgalov, who last played on Jan. 16 against New Jersey, is 10-11-4 with a 2.35 GAA in his career versus San Jose.

The Sharks are playing their first game after the break tonight and they hope to begin their post-All-Star schedule by continuing their run of success against the first-place Ducks.

San Jose is 3-0-1 against the Ducks this season and tonight's matchup marks the final regular-season meeting between the clubs in 2014-15. The Sharks have claimed eight of 11 overall in this series and Anaheim has lost six straight in San Jose.

Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi made 28 saves for a shutout victory when the clubs last met on Dec. 31 in Anaheim. The 3-0 decision is just one of two times this season the Ducks were shut out, with the other occurrence happening on Oct. 30 in St. Louis.

San Jose hasn't played since beating Los Angeles on Jan. 21, when Logan Couture had two goals and an assist to help the Sharks record a 4-2 victory. That win came in the fourth segment of a seven-game homestand and pushed San Jose's record at SAP Center to 12-8-3.

Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist while Joe Pavelski also scored for the Sharks, who snapped a two-game skid. Niemi allowed two goals on 28 shots.

"What is most satisfying is the competitiveness that we showed up with," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. "We have to capture it and be prepared to bring it to the rink after the break every night."

Niemi could get the start tonight. He is 13-9-1 with a 2.48 GAA in 23 career outings against the Ducks.