With a little more than a quarter of the season gone, the San Jose Sharks know the points they accumulate now might pay off come playoff time.
San Jose goes for its fourth win in a row on Saturday night when it plays host to the Anaheim Ducks, who hope to get some better production from two of their stars while trying to snap a three-game skid.
This is the fourth game of a five-game homestand and a stretch in which the Sharks (12-8-1) play seven games in 11 days. San Jose coach Peter DeBoer now is the time to rack up points.
"We're in the middle of a really tough stretch of the schedule, lot of games, short number of days. We're just trying to grind through and put points in the bank," he said Friday.
San Jose has been doing just that when playing its division rivals at the SAP Center. The Sharks improved to 10-1-0 in their last 11 at home against the Ducks with a 2-1 overtime victory on Oct. 25 as Joe Pavelski scored early and assisted on Marc-Edouard Vlasic's winning goal.
Pavelski has two goals and three assists in a season-high five-game points streak. He is tied with Brent Burns for the team lead with 18 points.
Burns, who signed an eight-year, $64 million contract extension on Tuesday, has posted three straight multi-point games, totaling two goals and four assists.
Burns has failed to register a point in three straight at home against Anaheim. However, one of the assists during his current run came on Patrick Marleau's game-winning goal with 23 seconds left in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Friday. San Jose led 2-1 in the final minute before rookie Aaron Dell surrendered the tying goal with 55 seconds remaining.
"We're finding ways to win, and they're close games, too, so we can build off of that," Marleau said after San Jose's seventh win in nine home games.
Martin Jones has been stellar in goal for the Sharks, stopping 59 of 60 shots in his last two games, but he has had a surprising lack of success when facing Anaheim. In eight career starts, Jones has a 1.63 goals-against average and .933 saver percentage but is just 3-5-0.
Special teams play has also had a hand in the Sharks' dominance at home against the Ducks in recent years. In the last 11 home games, San Jose has killed off 24 of Anaheim's 25 power plays.
Anaheim (9-8-4) is in the middle of the pack in the Pacific and just three points behind San Jose despite winning just three of 10 on the road this season. The Ducks suffered their third straight loss, 3-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.
All of the losses in Anaheim's current skid have been by the same score, dropping the Ducks to 0-8-4 when scoring two goals or less.
"We've got to score goals. ... We've had opportunities, it's not like we're not trying, we're not playing," Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said Friday.
After scoring a career-best 31 in 2013-14, Getzlaf's goal-scoring dipped to 25 in 2014-15, then to 13 last season and just one this season. The 31-year-old center hasn't scored a goal in 15 straight games.
Linemate Corey Perry, also 31, has four goals in 20 games after averaging 36.6 in the previous three seasons. He has failed to score in 13 straight.
"With me and (Perry) not scoring the way we are right now, we need to put pucks in the net. We play a lot of minutes. We need to find ways to score goals," Getzlaf said.
A turnaround might not happen against the Sharks. Getzlaf has two assists, and Perry has had a goal and an assist in the past seven meetings.
With the loss to Chicago, John Gibson fell to 6-7-3 with a 2.62 GAA with a .906 save percentage and one shutout. Games on back-to-back days could signal that Ducks coach Randy Carlyle will go with Jonathan Bernier in goal.
In six starts this season, Bernier is 3-1-1 with a 2.04 GAA and .938 save percentage. One of the losses, though, came against the Sharks despite exiting after 20 minutes with an injury. In three career starts at San Jose, Bernier has allowed 14 goals for a 6.03 GAA.