ANAHEIM The Sharks 0-3 mark against the Anaheim Ducks, headed into tonights game at the Honda Center, is surprising for a couple of reasons. The biggest, of course, is that Anaheim is in 29th place overall in the league.
Another, though, is that San Jose has taken care of business against the other poor sisters of the NHL. In fact, against the teams in the bottom half of the league when it comes to winning percentage, the Sharks are a dominant 9-2-1 when throwing out the Anaheim results.
That includes December wins against clubs like Tampa Bay, Edmonton and Montreal. The Sharks will get a chance to pad that record with consecutive games against Anaheim and 30th place Columbus at home on Thursday.
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Im not sure why weve done so well against teams that arent in the playoffs, but Anaheim has our number and wed like to finally get a win down here, Joe Thornton said after Tuesdays practice.
You play any team on any given night and be ready for it. At the same time, if youre playing Detroit, weve played them so many times youre maybe more hyped for that game, Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. No matter who it is, you have to be ready to play them.
The Ducks havent responded to a coaching change in late November. In fact, theyre worse. Anaheim is 3-8-2 under Bruce Boudreau (.308), after going 7-13-4 (.375) under Randy Carlyle to start the year.
Boudreaus Ducks beat the Sharks, though, less than two weeks ago at HP Pavilion, 3-2. It ended a 13-game winless streak on the road for Anaheim, and was aided by Thorntons turnover that led to a Bobby Ryan breakaway goal.
The Sharks can only look at the past results against the Ducks this season, and not Anaheims overall record.
We didnt play them in all those other games. We know we played them in three and lost to them, Todd McLellan said. In our minds, theyre at the top of the heap, theyre not lower in the standings. We have to approach the game that way, and we owe them that respect.
Columbus, meanwhile, has had a virtual stranglehold on last place overall from wire to wire. The Sharks and Blue Jackets havent played yet, but Columbus will have one advantage in that they arrived in San Jose on Tuesday night and will be well rested. The Sharks will be completing a three-games-in-four-nights stretch, with travel.
Weve played the Blue Jackets in the past, and in the past theyre a hard working team against us, Vlasic said.
Thornton said: Columbus, coming off of back-to-back games, is going to be tough. Theyre going to be two tough games, so weve got to be engaged.