Programming note: Sharks-Ducks coverage starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California with Sharks Pregame Live (territory restrictions apply)
ANAHEIM – Bruce Boudreau had no doubts that the Sharks would turn things around after their uneven start to the season.
The Ducks' head coach spoke about San Jose on Monday morning ahead of a game with the Sharks, who have already beaten his team twice this season.
“I laugh at the beginning of the year when teams aren’t going as well as they normally would. I’d laugh when they talk about San Jose because they’re just a really good team,” Boudreau said.
Has anything changed with the Sharks from their start to the season to their current stretch of winning nine out of 10?
“Not really,” Boudreau said. “Maybe they’re a little more cognizant of playing without the puck, but they still attack really well. They’ve still got the same cast of characters that do a great job. Their younger guys are playing well. They’ve introduced them to the team sort of very quietly, but it’s been a good transition. They’re just a good team. They’ve always been a good team.”
In each of their two wins over Anaheim, San Jose has claimed significant leads. On Oct. 26 at Honda Center, the Sharks scored twice in the third period and increased that edge to 4-0 in the third, before closing out a 4-1 win in a game that featured a combined 165 penalty minutes.
In the rematch in San Jose on Nov. 29, the Sharks scored four first period goals and led 5-0 in the second period. Anaheim stormed back to pull to within 5-4, but San Jose held on to win 6-4 in what was the first game of their current 9-1-0 hot streak.
Boudreau would like to see his team play with a little bit more emotion on Monday night, as the Sharks and Ducks battle in their final game before a four-day Christmas break.
“They have to be ready. It’s nothing I’m going to do. I’m not going to tuck them in this afternoon and make sure they rest,” Boudreau said. “They’ve got to be prepared. San Jose scored five goals in the first period against us in the last two games. They’ve been consistently over the years one of the best first period clubs in the league, so you have to be ready when you play them.”
“Usually it gets emotional when A – we get behind 4-0, or B – we’re behind 5-1. We would like that emotion to come out at the start of the drop of the puck rather than wait until you’re behind.”
Ducks winger Patrick Maroon expects another hard-fought battle, as the Sharks will try and get to within five points of first place Anaheim, which has won eight of its last 10 games and leads the league with 49 points.
“For us, they are a big physical team, just like us,” Maroon said. “I think it’s going to be a tough game tonight. It’s going to be a battle on the boards, a physical up-and-down game.”