In a Golden State showdown, the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks will meet Saturday night in Anaheim. The game comes off of the heels of Friday night’s duel between division rivals in which the Sharks managed to prevail 5-4 in a shootout.
Here is a look at where the Sharks (4-5-0) and the Ducks (4-5-3) both stand heading into Saturday’s game. It is one of the more even matchups on the schedule, with Anaheim a slight -115 favorite at home and San Jose sitting at -105 on the road.
By the Numbers
Even after yesterday’s eight goals in regulation, these are two offenses that have largely struggled this season. The Sharks are slightly better, averaging 2.67 goals per game, which ranks 23rd in the NHL, on 31 shots. The Ducks, meanwhile, are in the bottom four of the league with 1.92 goals on 26.5 shots while also carrying the second-worst power-play percentage in hockey.
However, thanks largely to brilliant goaltending, Anaheim has the edge in defensive stats. The Ducks are allowing 2.67 goals on 30.2 shots while also having a top-five penalty kill. The Sharks also have a strong penalty kill, but with 3.89 goals allowed and 32.7 shots allowed per game, they sit just 29th and 26th in the league, respectively.
Heading into this two-game series in Anaheim, the Sharks were having a rough go of things. They had lost two straight and three of four while also having a pair of games against Vegas postponed due to COVID concerns. So Friday’s win comes at a good time for San Jose, who are tied for last in the West Division and aiming to climb out of it.
Friday was a good step in the right direction, as four different players scored for the Sharks. After Matt Nieto finished off a great pass for this third goal of the season early on, San Jose held an early 1-0 lead but lost it and then some when they allowed three unanswered goals in the second period. Fortunately, the third period was very kind of them, as Logan Couture scored his team-leading fourth goal 39 seconds in, followed by a shorthanded score from Evander Kane and another goal from Brent Burns. Kane now has seven points, tying him with Couture and Tomas Hertl for the team lead, while Burns and Ryan Donato each have six.
Although he has struggled this season, Martin Jones was able to stop 33 of Anaheim’s 37 shots, not to mention both of their shootout attempts. However, with Jones getting the start Friday, the Sharks will likely turn to Devan Dubnyk for Saturday. Although he is still searching for his first win as a Shark, Dubnyk carries a 3.23 GAA, and .902 save percentage, well ahead of Jones.
As one of the worst offensive teams in hockey, the last two games have been encouraging for the Ducks. Coming out of a three-game losing streak, including two embarrassing efforts against St. Louis, the Ducks beat the Kings 3-1 with a season-high 43 shots on goal and followed it up with four goals on 37 shots against San Jose. Maintaining it is the key, as the Ducks have played the most games of anyone in the division and still sit in just fifth place.
Trailing early in the game on Friday, the Ducks had a promising second period. The veteran Adam Henrique delivered the game-tying goal, his second of the year. About three-and-a-half minutes later, Troy Terry sniped his first goal of the year, a few minutes after earning his first assist. Max Comtois then delivered both the third goal of the period and the game-tying goal in the third after the Sharks scored three in a row, giving him a team-high five goals on the season. Comtois now has six points, tying him for Carter Rowney for the team-lead. Ryan Getzlaf, Jakob Silfverberg, and Nicolas Deslauriers are next up with five points.
John Gibson was not his usual stellar self Friday, allowing four goals on 30 shots and giving up a pair of goals in the shootout finale. Expect the Ducks to rest him Saturday and turn to the longtime netminder Ryan Miller. Miller has made just one start and one relief appearance, going 0-1-0 with a 3.13 GAA and .893 save percentage.
If Friday was any indication, Saturday will be another fun game. Both teams seemed to figure a couple of things out that were wrong with them, and now each will send out their backup goalies. Although they lost, the Ducks won the shots battle, blocked more shots on the defensive end, and controlled the bulk of the puck possession thanks to a wide lead in the faceoff circle. This time around, I think Anaheim gets their revenge and wins this one to split the series.
Free Pick: Ducks -115
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