Here;s a preview of the first matchup against the arch-rival San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks killed the Coyotes in their season opener on Saturday, 6-3, and showed great balance in the win. All four lines scored for the Sharks and the power play was clicking instantly. Perhaps the most impressive of the goal scorers were Joe Pavelski and Andrew Desjardins who both scored twice, while Michal Handzus scored his first goal as a Shark and Ryane Clowe scored the other goal. Marleau had two assists in the game as well. They were missing two big pieces in the game as well in Niemi and newcomer Martin Havlat who are still recovering from injuries and at this point I am not sure if they will be playing or not.
The Ducks are going to have to be sharp defensively in this game to win because as the Sharks showed in their season opener, they can score s*#t ton of goals. The Sharks have a complete arsenal of weapons up front with good strength on the blue line. It is unsure at this point who will be starting in goal on Friday night. Head coach Todd McLellan said he would not hesitate to start Thomas Greiss over Niemi, however Niemi did complete a full practice today. No matter who it is though, the Ducks will have to score some goals. Perhaps this will be when the top line breaks through. If not, maybe the surprising line of Gordon-Cogliano-Smith-Pelly will provide the much needed offense. Also, we need to get a nickname for this line, maybe the ADA line, I don’t know, but whatever.
Players to Watch:
- Sharks Offense – Right now, there is not a single line on this Sharks line up that shouldn’t scare you. Hopefully the Ducks can’t defend well enough to stay in this game.
- Andrew Gordon-Andre Cogliano-Devante Smith-Pelly – This line has been very impressive in my opinion. They’re all very quick, aggressive, and hard-playing forwards.
This will be a very good measuring stick for the Ducks. The Sharks are, if not the most talented, one of the most talented teams not only in the West but in the entire league. The Ducks will need to score some goals, OR have Hiller stand on his head all game long. So, this could either be a competitive battle between two hated rivals or the Sharks could have their way with the Ducks. (Hopefully competitive)