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Anaheim Ducks Travel North To Face San Jose Sharks

(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks will try to post a victory for the fourth time in five outings tonight, when they host the rival Anaheim Ducks in a Pacific Division battle at HP Pavilion. San Jose's latest triumph came against the Devils, who dropped a 5-2 decision at the Shark Tank on Wednesday.

Joe Thornton netted a hat trick and matched a career high with five points to lift the Sharks to the easy win over New Jersey. San Jose's captain recorded his fourth career hat trick and first since March 25, 2008 against Phoenix. Thornton's only other five-point game was on December 28, 2001, when he recorded five assists for Boston against Florida.

Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley each had a goal and three assists for the Sharks, who got their first home win of the season (1-2-1).

"We just moved a lot better than I'd have thought," Thornton said of his line. "We jumped on loose pucks and we held defensemen off. But yeah, for all three of us to score was nice."

Antero Niittymaki made 27 saves to improve to 3-0-1 on the season. Niittymaki is expected to get the start tonight over Antti Niemi, who is 1-3-0 this year with an awful 4.50 goals-against average this year.

The Ducks' last game was also against the Devils, but New Jersey was able to post a 2-1 victory in Anaheim on Friday. Patrik Elias netted the game-winner in the third period.

Jason Blake scored a power-play goal for the Ducks, who received 25 saves from Jonas Hiller.

"Every time you think we're going to get it going, we play a game like tonight and lose again," Hiller said.

The Ducks are hoping to have rookie defenseman Cam Fowler back tonight. The 18-year-old has missed the last five games due to a broken nose and stiff neck, but he could play this evening.

Anaheim has not performed well as the visiting team this year, posting a 2-5-0 road record so far.

The Sharks have dominated the Ducks recently, winning eight of 10 and 11 of the last 14 meetings against their divisional rivals. San Jose, which beat Anaheim in five of the six encounters during the 2009-10 season, has claimed three straight and six of the last seven matchups on home ice.