Following last night’s results, it appears more and more likely that the Sharks will begin their postseason journey in Orange County.
Well, a day after writing about how the San Jose Sharks should welcome a first-round matchup against the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose now appears destined to travel further South and take on the Anaheim Ducks to begin their 2016 playoff campaign.
In a matchup between the two SoCal giants, the Kings were able to eek out a 2-1 victory last night at Staples Center to go two points clear of the Ducks atop the Pacific Division. Los Angeles has just one game remaining, while Anaheim has two contests remaining, but the Kings own the tiebreaker with 46 regulation or overtime victories, while the Ducks own just 41.
Therefore, if L.A. wins their game against the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow, they will clinch the division title, thus ensuring a Sharks-Ducks round one matchup.
It would certainly be an intriguing series if San Jose and Anaheim were to meet in the postseason as these two teams have only met on one prior occasion.
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Unfortunately for team teal fans, they remember that series all too well as the Presidents Trophy winning Sharks were downed in six games by the eighth-seeded Ducks back in 2009.
That series will have no bearing on this one, but these two teams match up fairly well with one another.
A season after San Jose dominated the season series going 4-0-1 last year, Anaheim responded by taking three out of the four meetings this year.
After the Sharks shut out (2-0) the Ducks in game two, Anaheim would win a pair of 1-0 contests before defeating San Jose by a 3-2 final on Feb. 2.
As you can see, one would expect a very tight series between these two foes as they both possess big, deep lineups.
San Jose is led by the trio of Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Brent Burns, while Anaheim counters with Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler.
Also of note, both teams are dealing with their fair share of injuries at the moment as the Sharks have been without Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Matt Nieto for the last little while, although San Jose is hopeful both should be ready for action when the playoffs begin.
On the flip side, the Ducks have been hit with a rash of injuries of late to key pieces including David Perron, Rickard Rakell, Frederik Andersen, Kevin Bieksa and Brandon Pirri. While they should get some of them back, it’s clear this has impacted the depth of the Anaheim lineup.
The biggest question of the series likely lies in goal for each team as the Sharks and Ducks have decisions to make. San Jose’s Martin Jones and Anaheim’s John Gibson would be the anticipated starters, but neither has extensive postseason experience.
Gibson has split his four career appearances, while Jones has seen just 57 minutes of playoff action. Like most series, this one will be decided by the battle between the pipes.
Regardless of whether the Sharks face the Kings or Ducks, it will make for a fascinating and fun series, but I’m sure fans of team teal would love the opportunity to send Perry and the Ducks home in round one.