Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Anaheim Ducks vs. San Jose Sharks Preview


The Anaheim Ducks travel to northern California to play the San Jose Sharks for a battle of first place in the Pacific Division. The Ducks started the season fast and had been comfortably in first place for most of the season, but are now tied with the Sharks on top of the Pacific Division with only a few weeks left in the regular season.

Game starts at 7:30 p.m.

Season Series: 2-2-1

Last Match Up: 6-3    team.teamCommonName (Dec. 31, 2013)

The last time these two teams met was back on Dec. 31 at the Honda Center. Kyle Palmieri scored the first and only goal of the first period. The teams would trade goals in the second, until Nick Bonino and Matt Beleskey scored back-to-back goals to put the Ducks up 4-2 at the end of the period. Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Cogliano scored early in the third period to put the game away as the Ducks went on to win 6-3.

Keys to the Game:

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1. Power Play: The Ducks went 0 for 6 on the power play in a loss to the Washington Capitals. They had almost a full two minute 5-on-3 power play, but came up empty.
2. Better Shots: The Ducks need to get more traffic in front of the net. They are getting plenty of shots, but opposing goalies are seeing most of them.

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1. Wear Down Anaheim’s Defense: The Sharks need to work the puck in deep, keep the cycling going, and make the Ducks take penalties.
2. Tough Defense: On defense, the Sharks need to keep the Ducks on the perimeter and force difficult angle shots.

Players to Watch:

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1. Jonas Hiller has not been playing well lately. He has given up 10 goals in his last three starts.
2. Ryan Getzlaf has not scored a goal since the Olympic break. He needs to get back on track.

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1. Joe Pavelski leads the Sharks with 34 goals and is a danger to score from any where on the ice.
2. Joe Thornton leads the Sharks with 56 assists. He can draw defenders toward him while making great passes to open teammates.

Starting Goalies:

team.teamCommonName Jonas Hiller : 27-11-6 2.40 GAA .914 SV% (Unconfirmed)

team.teamCommonName Antti Niemi: 34-14-6 GAA 2.25 .918 SV%

Team Stats:

team.teamCommonName 45-17-7, 97 points (Last 10: 5-3-2)

team.teamCommonName 45-18-7, 97 Points (Last 10: 7-2-1)

At the Olympic break, the Ducks had a seven point lead on the Sharks. Since then the Sharks have been on fire with a record of 8-3-1. The Sharks are now tied with the Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division making tonight’s game important for both teams.

This is a statement game for the Ducks. The team that doesn’t win the Pacific, will most likely face a physical Los Angeles Kings team in the first round under the new playoff seeding rules.

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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Sharks