Potential playoff preview as Sharks visit Anaheim

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Potential playoff preview as Sharks visit Anaheim

April 6, 2011

Programming note: It's a busy day on Comcast SportsNet! With five games on our air Wednesday, we've put together a page for you to find exactly where your team's game can be found. Check it out here.

SHARKS (47-23-9) vs.
ANAHEIM (44-30-5)

UPDATE: Goalie Antero Niittymaki will start for the Sharks; Ryane Clowe will not dress due to a lower body injury and Scott Nichol will play in two of the final three games, although no determination has been made regarding his status for tonight.
Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

ANAHEIM (AP) -- The Anaheim Ducks would have already wrapped up a playoff berth had they simply won in regulation the last time they took the ice.

Now a home victory over the Pacific Division champion San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night still won't guarantee them a postseason trip.

Anaheim (44-30-5) is just ahead of both Calgary and Dallas with three games to play, and owns the tiebreaker over each. The Ducks can keep the Flames, who have two games remaining, from catching them if they defeat San Jose, but the Stars have three games left and can still move past them.

RATTO: An early look at the Stanley Cup playoffs

This could have been avoided had Anaheim defeated Dallas at home in regulation on Sunday, but it suffered a 4-3 loss. The defeat was especially discouraging because the Ducks had a pair of potential tying goals taken away in the final 2:04 of the third on an interference call and a hand pass.

"At this time of year, it's tough to dwell on," winger Bobby Ryan said. "You have to just put it in the past. We have to regroup and get ready for San Jose."

Anaheim is hoping to avenge Saturday's disappointing 4-2 loss to the Sharks.

The Ducks, who had won 12 of 15 before losing their last two, led 2-0 after one period, but San Jose rallied to hand Anaheim its third defeat in five meetings this season.

The Sharks (47-23-9) defeated Los Angeles 6-1 on Monday to wrap up their fourth straight division title, an impressive accomplishment considering all five Pacific teams could make the playoffs and San Jose was in last place following a six-game losing streak in January.

The Sharks are 26-4-4 since then, and now they're hoping for the Western Conference's second seed. They are one point ahead of third-place Detroit.

"We have a pretty darned good division, so it's a feather in your cap," said Joe Thornton, who had a goal and an assist Monday to give him 999 career points. "But we still have some work to do. We're still fighting to get that second seed. But it's a good step for us."

Kyle Wellwood added a goal and two assists, and defensemen Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic also scored for the Sharks, who have outscored opponents 43-19 in going 8-0-1 since March 15.

Patrick Marleau has been instrumental to this offensive surge, tallying 10 goals and nine assists in his last 10 games. He had two goals against the Ducks on Saturday.

Goaltender Antti Niemi, who has made 34 straight starts, has been just as important to San Jose's playoff push, posting a 1.99 goals-against average with a shutout in his last nine games. He stopped 20 shots against the Ducks over the weekend and is 2-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA against them this season.

BRAZIL: To Nemo or Nitty? That is the question

Niemi was aided by some strong defense in front of him Saturday, as NHL scoring leader Corey Perry was held without a shot for the first time since Feb. 2, also against the Sharks.

Perry, who scored his 47th goal Sunday, has 16 goals and nine assists in his last 13 games, but he has no goals in his last three games against San Jose.
NOTES: The Sharks have won three of their five games against the Ducks this season. San Jose has also won 18 of its last 29 trips to Anaheim. ... The Ducks have lost each of their last two games after losing just three times in their previous 15 contests. ... San Jose has won four straight and eight of its last nine games, scoring at least four goals in seven of their eight wins in that span. The Sharks have collected points in 12 of their last 13 contests. ... Patrick Marleau has 10 goals and nine assists in his last 10 games and had two goals and one assist in his last game against the Ducks on April 2. ... Corey Perry has 18 points (11g, 7a) during his current nine-game point streak. Perry has three goals and five assists in his last six games against the Sharks, including two points in each of his last two against them. ... Currently at 999 career points, Joe Thornton will be looking to become the fourth player this season to reach the 1000 NHL point milestone (Daniel Alfredsson, Alex Kovalev and Jarome Iginla).

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

BOX SCORE

At Goodyear, Arizona, Joe Panik, Conor Gillaspie and Jarrett Parker homered for San Francisco. Jimmy Rollins singled and scored twice.

Giants lefty Matt Moore went 1 1/3 innings in his first start of the spring, allowing one run and one hit. He walked two and struck out three.

Cincinnati starter Tim Adleman pitched two innings, giving up four hits and two runs.

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

MESA, Ariz. — An unexpected opportunity came Daniel Gossett’s way Sunday, and the young right-hander took it in stride.

When the A’s adjusted their starting rotation, Kendall Graveman got bumped to Monday and Gossett learned he’d be taking the ball to start Sunday’s Cactus League home opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

“I’m here for what they need me for,” Gossett said. “So anything they need, gimme the ball.”

He spun two scoreless innings in a game Oakland lost 5-3 at Hohokam Stadium. A nice first impression for Gossett, indeed, but the truth is A’s officials were already quite familiar with him.

A second-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, Gossett impressed at three levels of the farm system in 2016, beginning the year with Single-A Stockton and finishing it with Triple-A Nashville.

This is his first big league camp, and manager Bob Melvin even mentioned Gossett as being part of the fifth starter conversation.

“He impressed everybody in the organization last year, so when talking about that fifth spot, who knows?” Melvin said before the game.

The only blemishes on Gossett’s day were the pair of walks he issued. After walking Jefrey Marte to lead off the second, he got a lift from his catcher, as Josh Phegley fired a strike to second to nail Marte trying to steal.

“A pitcher’s best friend, I guess,” Gossett said. He went 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA across 27 starts at all three levels of the minors last year, and his 151 strikeouts led the A’s farm system. Gossett’s fastball ranges anywhere from 90-95 on the gun. He throws a changeup that gets the most swings and misses, plus a slider and curve.

Grady Fuson, an A’s special assistant to the general manager, liked the adjustments he saw with Gossett over the course of last season.

“He’s a super kid, a grinder,” Fuson said over the winter. “He’s a guy that hadn’t struck many guys out and had been very hittable in the strike zone. (In 2016), he started executing to different parts of the zone that limits the hard contact.”

CAMP BATTLE: Alejandro De Aza sparked the A’s first rally in the third Sunday with a triple, then scored on Mark Canha’s double. With Jake Smolinski sidelined currently by a shoulder issue, it’s a good time for De Aza, a non-roster invitee to camp, to make his mark. The door could be open for him to make a push to make the roster as a fifth outfielder.

“He’s an interesting guy,” Melvin said of the nine-year veteran. “He knows how to play the game, he can play all three outfield spots. We’ve seen him before when he’s given us trouble, too, with the White Sox.”

Another contender for a reserve outfield spot is Jaycob Brugman, who has yet to crack the majors but is already on the 40-man roster. He singled home a run in the seventh. Like De Aza and Smolinski, Brugman can play center field, and it stands to reason the A’s will want to carry someone who can back up Rajai Davis at that position.

NOTEWORTHY: Phegley admitted to some butterflies before getting behind the plate for his first game since July, when a right knee injury wiped out the rest of his season.

But he looked good springing up to nail Marte on the second-inning steal attempt. The A’s are counting on Phegley returning to his role as the right-handed hitting platoon partner with Stephen Vogt behind the plate.

STOCK RISING: Melvin was impressed, and entertained, by the first look he got at reliever Simon Castro on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Castro retired Kris Bryant to strand a runner at third, the only hitter he faced. But it was what happened before the at-bat that caught Melvin’s attention.

“When he came to the mound he was pretty vocal,” Melvin noted. “He was fired up, telling the guys ‘Let’s go!’ I haven’t heard that too many times out of pitchers, let alone in spring training. So he impressed me with his eagerness to pitch.”

FAMILIAR FACES: Campy Campaneris and Blue Moon Odom each threw out ceremonial first pitches before Sunday’s exhibition home opener, which drew a smallish crowd of 4,072.