As the playoffs get closer and closer, we’re going to take a look at the possible first round matchups. First up, from the incredibly strong Pacific Division, the Anaheim Ducks vs. San Jose Sharks. Two teams that have been very strong this season, the Ducks more so, after coming back from a dreadful start of the season.
Anaheim Ducks (#2 – 43-23-10 – 96 PTS) vs. San Jose Sharks (#3 – 43-29-6 – 92 PTS)
So who cares about the bad start to the year for the Ducks, right? Bob Murray did well, in sticking with his coach. Bruce Boudreau is a great coach, and so are his Ducks. The Dynamic Duo is what turned them around. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf showed up, and now their Ducks are a scary team to play. Although, as of late the injury bug has hit the Ducks. Go figure, that with six games remaining in the regular season the Ducks would succumb to injuries. It definitely takes a bite out of the Anaheim Ducks, considering they have remained healthy majority of this season. The Ducks style of play is perfect for the playoffs. They play a rough and tough game, battling in the corners and with their hard cycle they are hard to play against. If they get some of their key guys back from injury before the playoffs they’ll be fine.
Key injuries: Frederik Andersen (Day-to-Day), Hampus Lindholm (Day-to-Day), Rickard Rakell (Day-to-Day), Josh Manson (Day-to-Day), Kevin Bieksa (Day-to-Day), Simon Despres (Day-to-Day), David Perron (Week-to-Week)
The Sharks have been a solid team this year. Although, the Sharks as a team are getting older. It’s not like their window for winning is closing, but when guys like Joe Thornton retire, and Patrick Marleau gets traded or goes to FA, they won’t be as good. San Jose has a good mix, of young and old. They have good leadership, with a few solid veterans, along with a mix of talented young players. The only question mark I have about them is Martin Jones. Can he handle the pressure of being a starter in the playoffs? Only time will tell. It’s not like he is doing bad this year, he is doing great in the regular season. Although, the playoffs are a totally different scenario all together.
Key injuries: Marc-Eduoard Vlasic (Day-to-Day), Matt Nieto (Late April), Matt Tennyson (Day-to-Day)
Season Series: 3-1 Ducks