In the Crease: Sharks host Ducks with first place on the line

In the Crease: Sharks host Ducks with first place on the line
March 20, 2014, 9:45 am
Share This Post

The Sharks won the first two games of the season series, including one in a shootout, but Anaheim claimed a 6-3 win in the most recent meeting on Dec. 31. (USATI)

Programming note 
Sharks-Ducks coverage gets underway on Comcast SportsNet California at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live

Where they stand
Sharks: 45-18-7, 97 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 3rd Western Conference
Ducks: 45-17-7, 97 points, 1st Pacific Division, 2nd Western Conference

The latest

Sharks: The Florida Panthers claimed a 3-2 win on Tuesday night, halting the Sharks’ six-game winning streak. Brent Burns had one goal and one assist, while Marty Havlat’s power play goal in the second period opened the scoring. The Sharks fired a franchise-record 29 shots on goal in the third and 54 for the game, but only put two of those past Roberto Luongo. San Jose has 12 games left in the regular season, and is 10-2-1 in its last 13.

Ducks: Anaheim lost at home to Washington on Tuesday, 3-2, despite outshooting the Capitals 45-30. Ben Lovejoy and Mathieu Perreault scored and Hampus Lindholm had two assists. The Ducks have won 12 of their last 15 road games (12-3-0), are 16-2-2 against the Pacific Division, but have lost five of their last seven overall (2-3-2). Their next nine games after tonight are against teams not in playoff position.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Matt Nieto. The Sharks rookie registered an assist on Tuesday, and has six points in his last six games (3g, 3a). He is just the 12th Sharks rookie to register double-digits in goals and assists, with 10 goals and 12 helpers on the season. His line, with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau, has been the Sharks’ most consistent in recent weeks.

Ducks: Corey Perry. The former league MVP is second in the NHL in goals with 36, and his 196 since the start of 2008-09 is third behind only Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos. While the Ducks have had some scoring issues lately, Perry has not – he has six goals in the Ducks’ last eight games.

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 2.94 (7th)
Goals-against per game: 2.33 (4th)
Power play: 15.9 percent (22rd)
Penalty kill: 84.9 percent (5th)

Ducks
Goals per game: 3.16 (T – 3rd)
Goals-against per game: 2.45 (7th)
Power play: 16.0 percent (21st)
Penalty kill: 81.3 percent (19th)

Probable lines

Sharks
Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Matt Nieto
Marty Havlat – James Sheppard – Tommy Wingels
Tyler Kennedy – Andrew Desjardins – Adam Burish

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Jason Demers
Scott Hannan – Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Ducks
Teemu Selanne – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon – Mathieu Perreault – Jakob Silfverberg
Daniel Winnik – Saku Koivu – Andrew Cogliano
Tim Jackman – Kyle Palmieri – Mark Fistric

Francois Beauchemin – Luca Sbisa
Ben Lovejoy – Hampus Lindholm
Bryan Allen – Stephane Robidas

Jonas Hiller
Frederik Andersen

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee surgery) and Brad Stuart (upper body) are out. Raffi Torres (right knee) is doubtful.

Ducks: Sheldon Souray (right wrist surgery) and Cam Fowler (sprained MCL) are out. Nick Bonino (lower body) is questionable.

Season/All-Time series

The Sharks won the first two games of the season series, including one in a shootout, but Anaheim claimed a 6-3 win in the most recent meeting on Dec. 31. San Jose had snapped the Ducks’ 10-game winning streak with a 3-1 triumph at SAP Center two nights earlier.

Logan Couture leads both teams with three goals in the three games, while Anaheim’s Nick Bonino, Ryan Getzlaf and Cam Fowler each have four points.

All-time, the Sharks are 59-46-7 against the Ducks, with four ties.

Quoteable

“Guys rise up against the good teams. Not that they don’t that the teams that are lower in the standings, but we know it’s a big game. We want to set the tone. In the past they’ve had our number, some years we’ve had theirs. It goes back and forth. It’s two good teams playing each other.” – Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Burning question

Who will win the Pacific Division, and who will that division winner face in the first round?

Leave your answer in the comments section below.