SHARKS (19-11-4) at DUCKS (22-8-5)
TV: FS-MW, CSN-CA
ANAHEIM -- It first appeared that Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry might play Monday against the San Jose Sharks at Honda Center. Perry took his usual spot on the top line during line rushes.
But Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau reiterated it would be wise for Perry and defenseman Francois Beauchemin to use the holiday break to further heal a sprained knee and broken finger, respectively. The Ducks won’t play again until Saturday.
Perry and Beauchemin stayed out for extra work after the regulars left the ice.
"I don’t think they'll be playing tonight," Boudreau said. "But obviously they're getting closer. They're skating full right now. We don't play for four days after tonight. It seems like it would be silly when you've got four other days to rest to not give them that opportunity to heal."
Anaheim's primary concern is having a good start against San Jose, which has outscored the Ducks 5-1 in the first period in two games this season.
"You want to start off well," center Ryan Kesler said. "That never determines the outcome but it sure can change the outcome. We want to focus on our start and go from there."
Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen is expected to start after he rested Friday. Andersen had started 20 consecutive games, the longest by an Anaheim goalie since Jonas Hiller started 32 straight in 2012. Boudreau said it was more important for Andersen to get rest mentally.
San Jose is going for its sixth straight win and is 9-1-0 in it past 10 games. With a win it can get to five points behind Anaheim in the Pacific Division. But San Jose coach Todd McLellan is cautious.
"I think tonight will be a good test for our young leaders," McLellan said. "These games pre- [and] post-Christmas, pre- [and] post-All-Star Game always scare me. Where's the focus? The coaching staff and the leadership group pull everybody together to be ready to play. Things have gone our way the last little bit and we'll see how we lead ourselves into this one. Because we're going to need to be ready."
The Sharks have won seven of the past nine games against the Ducks. Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic expects the usual dogfight.
"They probably really want Perry in the lineup, but even without him they've been winning," Vlasic said. "Even if he's not in the lineup tonight we've got to prepare to play a very good team because they've been rolling without him."
Asked how Anaheim has kept it going without Perry, Vlasic said, "I don't know. I haven't watched some of their games without him. But ask [Ducks captain Ryan] Getzlaf how well he’s been doing without him. He'll tell you."
Getzlaf has six goals and 14 points in 11 games without Perry, and the Ducks are 6-2-4 without him.
Here are the expected lineups:
Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Devante Smith-Pelly
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Emerson Etem
Andrew Cogliano - Rickard Rakell - Jakob Silfverberg
Rene Bourque - Nate Thompson - Tim Jackman
Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy
Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen
Hampus Lindholm - Mark Fistric
Scratched: Colby Robak, Dany Heatley
Injured: Corey Perry (knee), Francois Beauchemin (finger), Kyle Palmieri (shoulder), Eric Brewer (foot)
Status report: Lindholm took line rushes and is expected to play after he missed the previous game with a lower-body injury. ... Heatley did not take part in line rushes and appears to be a scratch, with Smith-Pelly going in the lineup. ... An update an Palmieri is expected Monday night. ... Niemi was first off the ice and McLellan confirmed he will start.
Who's hot: Couture has 10 points in his past 10 games. ... Niemi has won seven straight games. ... Getzlaf is on a five-game point streak and has points in 10 of his past 11 games. ... Lovejoy had his first multipoint game of the season Friday against the Ottawa Senators.