The Anaheim Ducks are on a two-game slide, but even among that swoon have seen a huge plus as they prepare to host the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
The Ducks are coming off Friday’s 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers — a second straight home defeat that has followed a six-game winning streak. The positive in that game was seeing highly touted rookie Leo Carlsson recorded his first career hat trick.
Carlsson, the second overall pick in this year’s draft, became the youngest player in Ducks history (18 years, 319 days) to score three goals in a game, and the 19th in NHL history to net a hat trick before his 19th birthday.
“He’s a player,” Anaheim coach Greg Cronin said. “He’s going to be a star in this league. I mean, he could have had five goals, really. Missed a couple, but he’s a star player.”
Carlsson tallied twice while on the power play. Veteran Alex Killorn helped set him up twice.
“Two great passes,” Carlsson said. “The second one was an open goal kind of, so it’s nice.”
The Ducks will be looking for more of the same from Carlsson, who became only the third Anaheim rookie to collect a hat trick (joining Bobby Ryan and Sam Steel), as well as a bigger outing throughout the lineup against San Jose.
There was no word on Saturday whether forward Trevor Zegras will be back in the lineup. Zegras was unavailable for the Flyers game due to a lower-body injury.
The Sharks, who sit at the bottom of the NHL standings, saw their modest two-game winning streak — their only victories this season — snapped with a 5-0 loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights on Friday.
It was not as bad as the consecutive losses earlier in the week in which the Sharks twice surrendered 10 goals, but that did not take away the sting of another defeat.
“They were better. We were not good enough,” forward Mikael Granlund said. “They were winning way more puck battles, obviously put us on defense quite a bit, so we got to be better.”
San Jose has mustered only two victories in 13 games this season and will be in tough against any top team. That said, the Sharks don’t believe they put in their best performance on a night they trailed 1-0 just 60 seconds after puck drop.
“Right from the get-go, we looked flat, for sure,” coach David Quinn said. “Getting down again 2-0 certainly didn’t help our cause. We were just half a step behind all night long.
“We defended way too much and weren’t able to end plays. We’re chasing the game really from the drop of the puck.”
Forward Anthony Duclair, who is second on the team with three goals this season, was scratched due to illness, and his status for the Anaheim clash was not made known on Saturday.
–Field Level Media
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