By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(17-12-5) return home to play the San Jose Sharks(21-12-1). The Ducks have played the Sharks three times this season already. Anaheim is 2-0-1 against San Jose.
The Ducks come out of the holiday break sitting in third place in the Pacific Division. Anaheim is two points behind second place Edmonton and three points behind first place San Jose. The Ducks are in second place in the Pacific Division with 40 points. Rickard Rakell is the scoring leader with 14 goals. Ryan Kesler has scored 12 goals. Andrew Cogliano, Cam Fowler, and Jakob Silfverberg have nine goals. Nick Ritchie has eight goals.
Keys To The Game
The key for Anaheim in this game and the second half of the season is defense. The Ducks have shown they can win close one goal games and have done it twice against the Sharks already. On the flip side, the Ducks have lost 12 regulation games this season with six of those being by four or more goals. They have also given up four or more goals in eight of their 12 regulation losses. Anaheim also needs to pick it up on the penalty kill. This season the Ducks are 80.2% efficient, which is 20th in the league. Last season Anaheim had the best penalty killing unit.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
John Gibson (Unconfirmed)
San Jose Outlook
The Sharks find themselves in first place in the Pacific Division after the holiday break. They are on a two-game winning streak after beating Calgary in regulation and Edmonton in overtime. San Jose is 7-3-0 in their last 10 games. Brent Burns leads the team with 13 goals. Joe Pavelski has 12 goals and Logan Couture has scored nine.
Keys To The Game
The Sharks are a solid defensive team only allowing 2.20 goals per game, which is 4th best in the NHL. If they can keep Anaheim to two goals then have a good chance at winning this contest. San Jose plays well short-handed at 83.5% efficiency, which is 9th in the NHL. The Sharks allow 26.2 shots against per game, which is second-best in the league. The biggest weakness for San Jose is their face-off play. They win only 48.0% of their face-offs, which ranks 27th in the league.
San Jose’s Projected Lineup (dailyfaceoff.com)
Martin Jones (Probable)
Want to be an Editor or Writer? Join The Puck Network!
DucksNPucks is part of The Puck Network, which covers the entire NHL. There are openings to cover your favorite team(s) and earn school credits! If you are interested, then apply by filling out the form here: Join Our Team
December 27, 2016