The state of California is about to witness a hockey rivalry between the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks as they face each other in the first round of the Western Conference.
This will be the 2nd time that the Sharks play the Ducks in the playoffs but the 14th time that California teams play each other in the playoffs.
Back in 2009 the Sharks won the President’s Trophy and entered the postseason with a franchise record 53 wins and 117 points. Yet, the 8th seeded Ducks pulled off the upset in Game 6.
Anaheim (44-25-13) finished on a 10-1-1 run to get past both San Jose and the Los Angeles Kings to gain control of second place in the Pacific.
San Jose (45-27-10) finished the season with 100 points which is a first for head coach DeBoer. However, the Sharks are entering the postseason an a 1-4-1 slump following an eight game win streak.
During the regular season the Sharks went 3-0-1 against the Ducks but three of those games were decided by a shootout. This will not be an easy series for either team and could likely end in Game 7.
San Jose Sharks
Brent Burns has powered this offense all season long even though he began with a slow start. Burns lead the team with 68 points after just posting 7 assists in the first 19 games. Burns had help throughout the season with both Joe Pavelski (66 points) and Logan Couture who had 34 goals.
The Sharks recently acquired Evander Kane who recently played for the Buffalo Sabres. Kane will be making his postseason debut. During his time with the Sharks he totaled 9 goals and 5 assists in just the 17 games he saw time in.
San Jose will have Martin Jones in net who reached 30 wins for the 3rd time since joining the team. Even with 30 wins, Jones had a career-worst 2.55 GAA and behind him Aaron Dell won 15 games but does not have playoff experience.
Key to a Sharks Victory:
Continue to find way to score. The Sharks scored 64 goals since March 1st. However, scoring against a Ducks defense which has a lot of depth won’t be easy. The Sharks will need to move the puck and play aggressive throughout the series if they want to advance.
The Ducks were able to reach 101 points, even without key players such as Getzlaf and Kesler, who both experienced injuries during the season.
Getzlaf only appeared in 59 games this season after missing 19 games due to a facial surgery. Getzlaf tied a career low 11 goals but was able to dish out 50 assists. Getlaf has 118 points in 121 playoff games.
Ondrej Kase and Adam Henrique have stepped up big time for the Ducks as they each scored 20 goals this season.
Rickard Rakell was the Ducks leading scorer for the 2nd straight season as he scored a career high 34 goals.
John Gibson posted 31 wins this season and had a GAA of 2.43 in 60 games and Riley Miller went 12-6-6 with a 2.25 GAA and has 28 career playoff wins under his belt.
Key to a Ducks Victory:
Defense. The Ducks have a lot of talent on defense and if they continue to play tough they could find themselves advancing. Plus, the Ducks have one of the best blue line scoring teams in the league so keeping up the momentum in the series and finding a way to give them the puck will lead the Ducks to succeed.
Ducks take Game 1.
Ducks defeat Sharks 4-2