In the Crease: Sharks still fighting for division vs. Ducks

In the Crease: Sharks still fighting for division vs. Ducks
April 9, 2014, 12:15 pm
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The Sharks have lost four of their last five games at the Honda Center (1-4-0). (AP)

Programming note: Sharks-Ducks coverage begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network (Territory restrictions apply)

Where they stand

Sharks: 49-21-9, 107 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 4th Western Conference
Ducks: 51-20-8, 110 points, 1st Pacific Division, 2nd Western Conference

Playoff watch

Anaheim would clinch the Pacific Division with a win over the Sharks in any fashion. If the Sharks lose it would assure them of a first round matchup, with home ice advantage, against Los Angeles.

The Sharks trail Anaheim by three points in the Pacific Division, and each team has three games remaining. The Ducks have clinched the tiebreaker of more regulation/overtime wins.

The latest

Sharks: The Sharks enjoyed their first three-day break since the end of the Olympics after losing to Nashville at home on Saturday, 3-0. Carter Hutton stopped all 35 Sharks shots he saw for his first career NHL shutout. San Jose is 3-3-2 in its last eight games following a 3-2 win over Anaheim on March 20.

Ducks: John Gibson made 18 saves in his first career NHL start in Vancouver on Sunday, helping the Ducks to a 3-0 win against the Canucks. Daniel Winnik, Kyle Palmieri and Matt Beleskey scored for Anaheim, which is 4-2-0 in its last six games.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Joe Thornton. The Sharks’ captain set a tone with his physical play in last week’s win over the Kings, and may want to do the same in San Jose’s biggest game of the season. Thornton leads the Sharks with six points against the Ducks this season, and although he’s scoreless in his last two games, has nine points (1g, 8a) in his last 10 games.

Ducks: Ryan Getzlaf. The Ducks’ captain is now second in the NHL in scoring with 86 points (31g, 55a), trailing only Sidney Crosby. Getzlaf, like Thornton, also has six points in the season series with San Jose. The 28-year-old has eight games with three or more points on the year, and has at least one point in six of the last seven games.

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 2.90 (7th)
Goals-against per game: 2.34 (4th)
Power play: 17.4 percent (19th)
Penalty kill: 84.5 percent (7th)

Ducks
Goals per game: 3.19 (2nd)
Goals-against per game: 2.49 (T – 9th)
Power play: 16.5 percent (22nd)
Penalty kill: 81.5 percent (18th)

Probable lines

Sharks
Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Matt Nieto
Bracken Kearns – James Sheppard – Tommy Wingels
Tyler Kennedy – Andrew Desjardins – Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Jason Demers
Scott Hannan – Dan Boyle
Brad Stuart – Justin Braun

Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Alex Stalock

Ducks
Matt Beleskey – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon – Matthieu Perreault – Teemu Selanne
Andrew Cogliano – Saku Koivu – Jakob Silfverberg
Daniel Winnik – Nick Bonino – Kyle Palmieri

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

John Gibson (likely starter)
Jonas Hiller

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee surgery), Raffi Torres (soreness/right knee surgery) and Adam Burish (left hand) are out.

Ducks: Sheldon Souray (right wrist) and Tim Jackman (hand) are out. Cam Fowler (sprained MCL) and Frederik Andersen (upper body) are questionable.

Season/All-Time series

The Sharks won all three games of the season series at home, but lost in their only game in Anaheim on Dec. 31, 6-3. San Jose has lost four of its last five games at Honda Center (1-4-0).

Joe Thornton leads San Jose with six points against Anaheim (1g, 5a), while Logan Couture has three goals in the four games. Ryan Getzlaf has six points against the Sharks (1g, 5a).

The Sharks are 60-46-7 against the Ducks all-time, with four ties.

Quoteable

“I think if we get our game to where we want it to be I think we can win the division. Obviously, we’re going to need some help still, but I think one comes with the other. If we get our game to where it needs to be we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.” – Logan Couture

Burning question

What is your biggest concern regarding the Sharks heading into the playoffs? Leave your answer in the comments section below.

 

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