The Sharks and Ducks renew their rivalry this season on Sunday night. These two Pacific Division and California rivals have yet to meet up this season. This will be the first matchup since San Jose swept the Ducks in the first round of last year’s playoffs. I expect this game to be pretty heated and exciting.
San Jose has started out the season strong with a 5-3-2 record, which has them at the top of the Pacific Division. The Sharks were on a three-game winning streak before losing to Carolina on Friday night. Now the Sharks will look to prove their dominance against their California rival.
Anaheim has posted a mediocre 5-5-1 record to begin the season. The Ducks are currently sitting in third place of the Pacific Division, which would be good enough to secure them a playoff spot. Anaheim has hit a rough patch recently, losing four games in a row. The Ducks could turn that around with a divisional win on Sunday night.
Both teams are near the top of the Pacific Division, which is not a huge surprise. Both teams have been really competitive in the last couple years, which has also meant that these games get even more heated. Neither team likes the other and it shows on the ice.
Last Season’s Matchups
In the regular season, San Jose and Anaheim met up four times. The Sharks hosted the first game. Ryan Miller stopped 44 of 45 shots for the Ducks, while Martin Jones had 25 saves on 26 shots. The game went to a shootout, where San Jose won 2-1.
The second game of the season series stayed in San Jose and once again took a shootout to decide. Joonas Donskoi scored twice for the Sharks. Corey Perry and Rickard Rakell each had a goal and an assist in regulation. Antoine Vermette scored the game winning goal in the shootout to give Anaheim a 3-2 win.
The third game shifted to Anaheim and this time it was a dominating performance by San Jose. Mikkel Boedker scored twice and added an assist. Melker Karlsson, Joe Thornton and Marc-Edouard Vlasic all scored a goal and an assist in route to a 6-2 win.
The fourth and final game of the season once again needed a shootout to decide. Logan Couture and Ondrej Kase each scored a goal and an assist for their respective teams. John Gibson turned away 37 of 39 shots. Goals by Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture gave the Sharks the 3-2 win.
The Sharks and Ducks met again in the first round in the playoffs. It was San Jose though, who moved through easily. The Sharks outscored the Ducks 16-4 in route to a 4-0 series sweep. Anaheim will be looking to get revenge for their embarrassing performance in the playoffs last season.
The injury list for Anaheim just continues to build up. Patrick Eaves, Ondrej Kase, Corey Perry and Jakob Silverberg are all going to be out against San Jose. Max Comtois, Nick Ritchie and Carter Rowney are all doubtful for Sunday’s matchup.
San Jose only has one injury, but it is a pretty big one. Joe Thornton is out for the Sharks. Thornton’s role offensively is still really important, and his leadership role is even bigger. The Sharks are definitely not hurting as much as the Ducks are injury wise. Anaheim is without some pretty big-name players, which can really sting against a big rival like the Sharks.
Martin Jones will likely start in net for the Sharks on Sunday night. Jones has started out the season with a 4-3 record. He has posted a .899 save percentage and a GAA of 2.6. Last season, he posted a save percentage of .915 and a 2.55 GAA. Jones’ has not been great to start out this season, but I believe he will step it up at some point.
I believe the Ducks will have John Gibson start in net on Sunday night. Gibson has gone 4-4-1 to start this season. He has posted a save percentage of .940 and a 2.28 GAA. He has put up really solid performances for a mediocre record. Gibson had a .926 save percentage and a GAA of 2.43 last season. The Ducks will need a good performance from Gibson if they want to pull off the upset on Sunday night.
The Ducks and Sharks played some really close games during the regular season last year. I believe that this game could go either way. Even though the Ducks have lost a lot of players to injury, these rivalry games bring out the most in players. Anaheim is also at home and with it being a big rivalry game, the fans should help ignite the players.
BetOnline has San Jose listed at a money line of -127, which is pretty big on the road. The Sharks have been the better team this season, but in a rivalry game on the road, I feel like this line should be closer to even. This gives a lot of value to Anaheim’s side. I am going with the Ducks to end their losing streak.