December 31, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller (1) blocks a shot as center Nick Bonino (13) helps defend against San Jose Sharks right wing Mike Brown (18) during the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Sharks Battle Ducks For Pacific Division Lead: Game Preview


After having their six-game win streak snapped at the hands of the lowly Panthers, the San Jose Sharks have quite an opportunity to redeem themselves. On Thursday night, they will on their arch-nemesis Anaheim Ducks, who just happen to be tied with the Sharks for the lead atop the Pacific Division with 97 points.

While the Sharks have been on a tear recently, the Ducks are in the midst of a cold spell, losers of five of their last seven games. This has allowed the Sharks to climb their way back into the Pacific Division race, which was once dominated by the Ducks, who held a large lead over the Sharks for much of the season.

Both teams are coming off rather disappointing losses on Tuesday; the Sharks were stymied by Roberto Luongo and the Panthers, while the Ducks fell 4-3 to the Capitals on home ice.

The Sharks and Ducks will finish in the top two spots in the division, but the only question remains, “In what order”? Both teams desperately want to win the division, since the No. 2 team will likely face the third-seeded Kings in the first round of the playoffs, and no team wants to bump into L.A. that early in the postseason.

Thus, this game will be the first of many factors that will decide the fate of the San Jose Sharks come late April.

Tale of the Tape

Sharks

  • Goals for per game: 2.94 (7th)
  • Goals against per game: 2.33 (4th)
  • Shots per game: 35.0 (1st)
  • Shots against per game: 27.9 (5th)
  • Penalty minutes: 648 (5th)
  • Power play percentage: 15.9% (22nd)
  • Penalty kill percentage: 84.9% (5th)

Ducks:

  • Goals for per game: 3.16 (4th)
  • Goals against per game: 2.45 (7th)
  • Shots per game: 31.4 (9th)
  • Shots against per game: 28.5 (8th)
  • Penalty minutes: 752 (17th)
  • Power play percentage: 16.
  • Penalty kill percentage: 81.3% (19th)

Top Performers

Sharks: Joe Pavelski (32 G, 34 A), Joe Thornton (10 G, 56 A), Patrick Marleau (28 G, 32 A)

Ducks: Ryan Getzlaf (29 G, 45 A), Corey Perry (36 G, 31 A), Nick Bonino (17 G, 27 A)

Injury Report

SJ: Tomas Hertl (knee) and Brad Stuart(upper body) are on IR. Raffi Torres (soreness) did not play Tuesday.

ANA: Cam Fowler (knee) is out 3-5 weeks. Nick Bonino (lower body) is day-to-day.

Probable Lines

SAN JOSE (45-18-7)

Forwards

Pavelski-Thornton-Burns

Marleau-Couture-Nieto

Wingels-Sheppard-Havlat

Kennedy-Desjardins-Burish

Defensemen

Vlasic-Demers

Hannan-Boyle

Irwin-Braun

Goalies

Niemi

Stalock

ANAHEIM (45-17-7)

Forwards

Selanne-Getzlaf-Perry

Marron-Bonino-Palmieri

Winnik-Koivu-Cogliano

Beleskey-Perreault-Silfverberg

Defensemen

Beauchemin-Sbisa

Lovejoy-Lindholm

Allen-Robidas

Goalies

Hiller

Anderson

Game Info

Opening Face-off: 7:30 PM PST

Location: SAP Center, San Jose, CA

TV: LOCAL

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