The San Jose Sharks' success away from home of late has helped them get back in the thick of a very tight Western Conference race.
That appears to make their season-high seven-game road trip very timely.
Surging San Jose faces the Northeast Division-leading Boston Bruins on Saturday night in the second game of their crucial road stretch.
The Sharks (27-19-6) defeated Anaheim 4-3 on Wednesday, as Dany Heatley scored 14 seconds in and San Jose built a 3-0 first-period lead before holding off a late push by the Ducks.
The Sharks moved to 7-2-1 in their last 10 road games, and they're 6-0-1 overall since a season-high six-game losing streak.
"We know there are going to be close, wild games," captain Joe Thornton said after his team's second straight win. "You hope there's not too many three-point (beyond regulation) games to keep everybody bunched up. We'd like to win them outright, the way we did the last two nights."
Thornton's assist on Heatley's goal gave him seven points in as many contests, and Ryan Clowe added a goal and an assist. Dan Boyle and Devin Setoguchi each had two assists.
Calder Trophy candidate Logan Couture missed his second straight game with the flu, and his status for Saturday is uncertain.
Former Bruin Thornton has two goals and an assist in four games against his former team, and scored a goal in his second visit to Boston while with San Jose, a 5-2 win Feb. 10, 2009.
Thornton and the Sharks could be facing an edgy Bruins team that engaged in three fights in the first 4 seconds of a 6-3 win over Dallas on Thursday. Boston (30-15-7) scored four times in the first period en route to its third straight victory and sixth in the last eight.
Bruins forward Daniel Paille was suspended four games Friday for a hit to the head of the Stars' Raymond Sawada that drew a match penalty and immediate ejection.
"It was a bad hit," Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said. "We can't be hypocrites when your own team does a hit like that which the league is trying to get rid of."
The line of rookie Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi continued to shine for Boston on Thursday. Bergeron had two goals and an assist, Recchi had three assists and Marchand scored an empty netter and added two assists.
Marchand has five goals and four assists in his last seven games, while Bergeron has recorded four goals and four assists in his last five.
"We're starting to click and we have pretty good chemistry," Marchand told the team's official website. "(Bergeron), he's going to be a future Hall of Famer, and (Recchi), same thing."
Boston won the last meeting with San Jose 2-1 in a shootout Jan. 14, 2010 at HP Pavilion.
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