The Anaheim Ducks (20-3-4) will host the San Jose Sharks (12-9-6) at the Honda Center this evening. The Ducks are one of the hottest teams in the NHL and would be atop the Western Conference if it were not for the Blackhawks.
For the Sharks it has been a season of ups and downs and right how they are battling for playoff position so from here on out every point matters. They have been a mediocre 4-3-3 and in their last 10 games and if they continue at that pace will have a hard time making the top eight when playoffs come around. Tonight is a great chance to gain some confidence if they can beat the Ducks.
Anaheim will be without one of their top players in Corry Perry who is serving the third game of his four-game suspension for an elbow a few games ago. This means the Ducks will be without their second leading point-getter for tonight and their next game which is against Chicago.
Tonight the Sharks have a tall order ahead of them against an Anaheim team that does not have a regulation loss in their last 10 games. Also, they are even better at home having won 11 straight games at the Honda Center. San Jose will be looking to end that streak tonight in this the third out of five meetings between the teams this season.
The Sharks will have to deal with a high-powered offense that is led by Ryan Getzlaf who so far this season has 10 goals and 21 assists for a total of 31 points. His 10 goals is tied for the team lead with forward Andrew Cogliano. And do not forget about guys like Saku Koivu and Bobby Ryan have also eclipsed the 20 point mark this season with Koivu hitting 22 points and Ryan with 21.
What To Watch For
Tonight will be another important special teams battle with Anaheim possessing the best power play in the league against a San Jose penalty kill unit that is third best in the league. And, while that will be a great matchup, the more important battle will be the Sharks’ power play against the 25th rank penalty kill of the Ducks. If the Sharks want to win this game they will need to take full advantage of every opportunity given to them, meaning scoring on power plays. This is especially important because the Ducks, like the Sharks, have been great all season at not allowing goals.