Sharks Play First Game Without Murray: Game Preview


Mar 18, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Bryan Allen (55) attempts to poke check the puck away from San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture (39) during the third period at the Honda Center. The Anaheim Ducks defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks (13-11-6) head to Anaheim to face the Ducks (22-5-4) in the last game of their five game road trip.  So far the Ducks hold the 2-0-1 series lead although there are two games left to play.

The Ducks lost two games in a row for the first time all season yet still sit sit just a few points behind the Chicago Blackhawks.  Anaheim has been strong all year and has not shown any signs of slowing down.

Meanwhile the Sharks have been on a stumbling pace heading into the playoffs and at the moment are on the outside looking in sitting in ninth position although they have a game in hand on most other teams.  As I said last game against the Wild, a win against a top notch team would go a long way to boosting their confidence.  That did not work out too well last time though.

The big news of the day for the Sharks is the trade of Douglas Murray to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a couple of draft picks.  Read more about the deal here from our guys.

While Murray has been one of the best shot blockers and the biggest physical presence of the season for the Sharks he has been struggling all year with the team and needed to go.  From a personal standpoint I thought the trade was a great move by general manager Doug Wilson to get what he could.  I look at the trade as an ‘addition by subtraction’ type of deal.

Consequently, it will be interesting to see what the coaches do to the lineup now that Murray is no longer a Shark.  Will they keep Brent Burns as a forward and use Jason Demers and Justin Braun more often?  Perhaps they will put Burns back to playing on the blue-line?  We have only to wait a few hours to find out.

What To Watch For

Like I said, since the Ducks were handed their first two-game losing streak of the season at the hand of the the Red Wings, they will be looking for a bit of revenge against the Sharks as a result.  Expect the Ducks to come out strong in the first period.  They will be looking to hit and to play fast, two things which the Sharks have struggled with all season.  That plus the Ducks have a league best 13 wins at home compared to the Sharks who are far below .500 on the road this season makes for another tough game against Anaheim.