So what's wrong with the Ducks, winners of only four of their past 18 games?
"I think we're playing too soft," captain Paul Kariya said. "There's no hitting. We're too passive."
Said Teemu Selanne: "We don't play as a team right now. The forwards don't help the defense enough. The defense makes too many mistakes. The goalies didn't stop anything [in Friday's 6-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes]."
Added Coach Pierre Page: "We looked like a team that was thinking too much, worrying too much and feeling sorry for itself."
They agree the solutions are relatively simple, but getting the desired results has been difficult lately. In the past five games, the Ducks are 1-4 and have been outscored, 24-12.
"We've got to get back to a low-scoring game," Kariya said. "We've got to work on our defense. We've got to have the defense and the forwards blocking shots."
Said Selanne: "We have to keep our game simple and we have to be more disciplined too. I think we've got to get the emotion back and play with big hearts."
Added Page: "I think we're playing Teemu and Paul a lot, but you need people who are going to accept their roles and be productive. I remember Guy Lapointe [Page's assistant last season in Calgary] saying, 'You might only play four minutes, but those might be the four most important minutes of the hockey game.' "
Selanne said he hoped a strong third period against Phoenix would carry over to tonight.
"We have two games left before the Christmas break, and I really expect we are going to win both games," Selanne said.
* Channel 9
Radio--KRLA 1110, KCKC 1350.
Records--Ducks 12-17-6, Sharks 13-18-4.
Record vs. Sharks--0-2.
Update--Teemu Selanne has 25 goals and 21 assists in 24 games against the Sharks. He had three goals in the first period of the Ducks' 6-4 loss to San Jose at the Pond on Nov. 10. Energetic winger Warren Rychel hopes to play tonight after missing Friday's loss to the Phoenix Coyotes because of a groin strain. Defenseman Jason Marshall is expected to be sidelined several games after suffering a shoulder injury when he was blindsided by Phoenix defenseman Jim McKenzie.