The Anaheim Ducks (3-1-0) come to town to face the Sharks (5-0-0) in an early season matchup between division rivals. The Ducks are coming off of a win this past Saturday over the Nashville Predators by a score of 3-2. The Sharks are coming off a big win early on in the season against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday in which they won 4-1.
Former San Jose Shark from a season ago Daniel Winnick is, believe or not, leading goal scorer for an Anaheim Ducks team that boasts such names as Teemu Selanne (2 goals, 3 assists), Ryan Getzlaf (2 goals, 2 assists), Saku Koivu (1 goal, 5 assists), and the guy most Sharks fans love to hate Corry Perry.
Winnick has 5 goals s0 far this season which is tied for second behind Patrick Marleau who has 9 goals already this season. Winnick is tied with Koivu (leads team with his 5 assists) for points on the team with 6 while Selanne is right behind them with 5 points.
The Ducks have had a good start to their season as well with their only loss coming in their home opener against the Canucks in which they were shut out. Days earlier the Ducks spoiled the Canucks’ home opener in Vancouver by the score of 7-3 in a game where the Ducks chased Cory Schneider in the fist period, then promptly scoring 3 more goals against his replacement Roberto Luongo.
Things to Watch For
There is one weakness this season for Anaheim, and that is goaltending. Starter Jonas Hiller has a 4.00 goals against average including a paltry .864 save percentage in 3 starts this season. If he does not pick up those numbers he could be in danger of losing his starting job. I’d expect San Jose to test Hiller early and often with all kinds of shots to see if they might be able to sneak a few soft goals considering his poor start.
While we know San Jose’s offense and power play have been tearing it up (37.5% on the pp), they have been getting great defense and goaltending as well. The Sharks are only allowing 1.6 goals per game and Antti Niemi’s stats are equally impressive with a 2.01 goals against average, a .933 save percentage and he is 4-0 so far this season. So far his forte has been timely goaltending when the team needs it most, and he has delivered in a big way.