(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Sharks hope to avoid a fifth straight loss and secure the first victory of their current homestand on Saturday night as they take on the Anaheim Ducks.
The Sharks followed up consecutive shootout losses to Florida and Arizona with a 2-0 setback to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. That dropped them to 0-1-2 on a six-game homestand and 2-4-2 as the host this season.
Antti Niemi made 17 saves, getting beat just once as Calgary's Jiri Hudler scored on a wrister in the slot with 2:44 to go in the second period. Hudler scored again into an empty net and Flames netminder Karri Ramo stopped all 32 shots he faced.
The Sharks haven't given their defense much to work with as they have not scored more than three goals in nine straight games since a 5-3 win at Dallas on Nov. 8. They are 2-5-2 since.
"It's disappointing. We want to win, we want to get out of this," said Sharks center Joe Pavelski "The harder we try the worse it's going."
Niemi was backed up on Wednesday by San Jose resident Ryan Lowe, who was signed to a goaltending contract after Troy Grosenick was injured in practice on Tuesday and unable to dress for the game.
The 31-year-old Lowe last played professionally in Australia.
Grosenick had been serving as the backup to Niemi with Alex Stalock out following left knee surgery.
Niemi is 11-9-0 with a 2.51 goals against average and .908 save percentage in his career versus the Ducks.
Looking to break out of their slump, the Sharks have won six of their last eight over the Ducks that includes a 4-1 victory in Anaheim on Oct. 26. Niemi made 33 saves in that triumph.
San Jose has won five in a row at home versus Anaheim. The Ducks, who are 7-2-2 as the guest this season, are hoping to reverse that trend Saturday and return to the win column after having a three-game win streak snapped the last time out.
Anaheim had a chance to go 3-0 on a three-game homestand but dropped the finale 4-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday afternoon. The Ducks were outshot 38-24 in the loss, the club's first regulation setback since a 6-2 home setback against Florida on Nov. 16.
Chicago put up all the offense it would need in the first 14 minutes of the game, as Brad Richards and Andrew Shaw helped the visitors grab the early 2-0 lead. Patrick Kane added two goals later to keep the Ducks at bay.
Hampus Lindholm scored the only goal of the game for Anaheim, while Frederik Andersen allowed three goals on 37 shots in the loss.
During Friday's game the Ducks announced they had acquired defenseman Eric Brewer from Tampa Bay for a third-round pick in the 2015 draft. Brewer, who has four assists in 17 games this season for the Lightning, could help add depth for an Anaheim club that has been without blueliners Francois Beauchemin and Clayton Stoner. Beauchemin will miss 4-to-6 weeks with a broken finger sustained earlier this week against Calgary, while Stoner is day-to-day with the mumps.
Brewer could be available to play for the Ducks tonight, as he is expected to join his team in San Jose.
The Ducks are only on the road for tonight's game in Northern California before heading back down the coast for a two-game homestand against Boston and Philadelphia. Anaheim begins that brief residency Monday versus the Bruins.