With Corey Perry playing at an MVP level, the red-hot Anaheim Ducks are on the verge of their best start in eight years.
The San Jose Sharks, meanwhile, are headed the other direction as they look to avoid their worst slide in two seasons.
Given the way he’s played against the visiting Sharks, Perry appears to have an excellent opportunity to continue his scoring surge Sunday night when the Ducks try to extend their seven-game winning streak.
Perry, who had a hat trick in Anaheim’s season-opening loss at Pittsburgh, tallied three more in Wednesday’s 4-1 home win over Buffalo before finishing with a goal and an assist in Friday’s 4-1 victory over visiting Columbus.
The 2011 MVP has a league-best nine goals in his first eight games in the fastest start in franchise history.
”He certainly is feeling it right now,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. ”He’s going to slow down eventually, and hopefully by that time, somebody else can pick up the slack.”
Perry may not be ready to cool off against the Sharks, having scored 13 times with 12 assists in his last 22 meetings. The right wing finished with two goals and five assists while helping Anaheim go 2-2-1 in last season’s series.
The Ducks (7-1-0) won both matchups at Honda Center, improving to 9-3-0 at home versus San Jose since March 2010.
They’re hoping to close out this five-game homestand by securing their best start since opening 12-0-4 in 2006. Last season, they also won seven straight after a season-opening loss at Colorado.
Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist Friday, giving him five assists in his last three games. The captain also has two goals and six assists in his last five home matchups versus San Jose.
The Sharks hope to end Anaheim’s run and get back in the win column after losing their fourth straight, 2-1 to visiting Buffalo on Saturday. San Jose was at least better defensively after allowing 23 goals in six games since opening with back-to-back shutouts.
”It’s a tough stretch right now,” left wing Matt Nieto said. ”We played one of our better defensive games. We had a couple of slip-ups there but you can’t be perfect. We need to put more pucks to the net.”
Since totaling 18 goals during a 4-0-1 start, the Sharks (4-4-1) have scored just eight times in their losing streak. Brent Burns tallied his first goal Saturday, giving him at least one point in all but two games.
Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau each have team highs with four goals. Couture also led the way with four against the Ducks in last season’s series.
After Alex Stalock started Saturday, Antti Niemi is expected to be back in net as San Jose looks to avoid its longest skid since an 0-4-3 slide in February 2013. He’s given up nine goals in his last two defeats and is 1-4 with a 4.09 goals-against average in his last five starts in Anaheim.
The Ducks are likely to counter with Frederik Andersen after backup John Gibson faced just 17 shots Friday during one of the team’s best defensive efforts of the season.
”That was more of a complete game than we’ve played in a while,” Boudreau said.
Andersen, who has posted a 1.32 GAA in his six starts, allowed six goals while losing a pair at San Jose last season.