The Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks clash for a regional battle at the Shark Tank in California on Monday night. This is it for the Sharks. They have to make a statement right off the jump following the All-Star break to give themselves a chance at the playoffs. It’s imperative that Bob Boughner used the break to recharge his batteries and clear his head for a strong push.
Boughner is auditioning here for a chance to become the full-time head coach with the Sharks or elsewhere, so a lot is on the line for him. Peter DeBoer was fired after the team underperformed following a slow start to the season. Not much has changed, though, and the Sharks are going to be running out of room soon. It’s almost February and there isn’t time to go cold.
The Sharks head into Monday with a record of 21-25-4 and 46 points. That has them sixth in the Pacific Division, which is wide open and even the Sharks have an outside shot at winning the division. As crazy as it sounds, the Sharks are 12 points back, which isn’t an impossible gap to overcome with the time left in the regular season. They will have to get hot right about now, though.
The odds are stacked against them, but we’ve seen crazier things happen in the NHL, like say the Blues winning the Stanley Cup last season and an expansion team going to the Stanley Cup Final. That expansion team happens to be the next team ahead of them, but it’s a far distance, as the Golden Knights have a 11-point advantage on the Sharks. The Pacific is a five team battle at the moment, with each club with a point of the top spot.
San Jose will have to take it day by day if they want to join the race. A win against a beatable Ducks team following the break will have to be their starting point. The Ducks are hanging out with the Sharks and Kings at the bottom of the division, as they enter Monday with a mark of 19-24-5 and 43 points.
If the prospects of a Sharks’ comeback in the Pacific is poor, then the Ducks fall into the extremely poor category. Fortunately, the Ducks were able to avoid a long-term injury to Jakob Silfverberg recently. He sat out a few games, but is back healthy and in the lineup. When we last saw the Ducks, they came up with a big 2-1 overtime win over the Hurricanes. They were also winners against the Predators by a score of 4-2, so they can make out with a three-game winning streak tonight. Head below for our free Ducks vs. Sharks pick.
Anaheim Ducks vs. San Jose Sharks Betting Odds:
Ducks vs. Sharks Prediction:
The Sharks are going to have to do everything better post All-Star break. They went into the break losing three straight games against the Coyotes, Avalanche, and Canucks. It seemed like for a second there that they were picking up momentum, with wins over the Stars and Blue Jackets, along with a competitive overtime loss versus the Capitals. That all went out the window following a 6-3 loss against the Coyotes. It’s been that type of season for the Sharks, as there hasn’t been much consistency on this squad.
It is not a situation of the Sharks being completely talentless, either. Losing Joe Pavelski certainly hurt and more than one way. When it comes to his presence in the locker room as a leader and on the ice, it’s hard to duplicate his production. He left San Jose for Dallas in the offseason as a free agent, and is likely pretty thrilled with the decision that he made.
The Sharks did attract Patrick Marleau back to San Jose, but his contributions are not what they were a few years ago. Having said all that, Evander Kane, Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl are all major players. That group alone should have the Sharks in a better position than 21-25-6. While the situation is dire, that’s why I’m not completely throwing in the towel on the Sharks just yet.
The Sharks have played considerably better at the Shark Tank than on the road this season. They sport a mark of 8-14-3 on the road as opposed to 13-11-1 at home. The Sharks have notched an average of 2.56 goals per game on the season. However, they do see an uptick at home, where they’ve potted 2.88 goals a game.
The Ducks have been dismal in all aspects of their game as a visitor. They head into San Jose with a record of 8-15-2 on the road, and just 2.28 goals scored, while allowing 3.4 goals per contest. Mind you, they did look comfortable at the Shank Tank back in early October when they were winners by a score of 3-1. That said, I think we’re going to see some hungry Sharks this evening. While this contest doesn’t look like much, it’s imperative that the Sharks fire off the blocks on Monday night. Expect them to play like a contender, at least for a night against an inferior opponent.