Ducks vs. Sharks playoff preview

Battle-lg_medium Fearthefin_medium

The Blogs

Battle of California vs. Fear the Fin

The San Jose Sharks, fresh off of winning the first Presidents Trophy in team history, host the Anaheim Ducks in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs.

The Storyline

Todd McLellan left the Red Wings after winning the Stanley Cup as an assistant, and put his imprint on the Sharks right away. Dubbed "Detroit West", San Jose dominated using a puck-possession style with a "fire at will" mentality from the blueline. Will this formula solve the problem of previous playoff failures?

The Ducks, meanwhile, struggled at various points of the season before kicking it into gear over the final month to beat out Minnesota and Nashville for the final playoff spot.

The Numbers

Anaheim San Jose
 Record 42-33-7 17th 53-18-11 1st
 Pts % .555 17th .713 1st
 Goals For/Game 2.90 14th 3.06 7th
 Goals Against/Game 2.87 18th 2.43 3rd
 5-on-5 GF/GA 1.09 9th 1.09 9th
 PP% 23.6 4th 24.2 3rd
 PK% 79.7 23rd 83.3 5th
 Shots/Game 30.3 11th 33.2 3rd
 Shots Against/Game 30.5 19th 27.2 1st
 FO % 49.8 17th 53.8 2nd

Frankly, I don't think there's any significant area where you can claim Anaheim has an advantage over San Jose. Perhaps their best hope is to keep the game at 5-on-5 and avoid the penalty box, but come on, this is Anaheim we're talking about. They've been 1st or 2nd in the NHL in Penalty Minutes in each of the last three seasons.

Goaltending

Anaheim


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere 46 2458 19 18 6 3 127 3.10 1274 1147 .900 2
2008 - Jonas Hiller 46 2486 23 15 1 6 99 2.39 1217 1118 .919 4

San Jose


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Evgeni Nabokov 62 3686 41 12 8 0 150 2.44 1663 1513 .910 7

Penalties

No OtF preview would be complete without a look at Penalty Plus/Minus, to see which players will head to, or send other players to, the box:

 Anaheim Penalties Drawn San Jose Penalties Drawn
 Player Draws Fouls Pen +/-  Player Draws Fouls Pen +/-
 Corey Perry 52 48 +4  Joe Thornton 45 26 +19
 Ryan Getzlaf 36 50 -14  Devin Setoguchi 37 11 +26
 George Parros 33 33 0  Ryan Clowe 34 18 +16
 Bobby Ryan 27 15 +12  Joe Pavelski 33 19 +14
 Teemu Selanne 17 13 +4  Dan Boyle 26 25 +1
 Todd Marchant 17 16 +1  Travis Moen 26 27 -1
Penalties Taken Penalties Taken
 Ryan Getzlaf 36 50 -14  Rob Blake 10 42 -32
 Corey Perry 52 48 +4  Jody Shelley 25 36 -11
 Chris Pronger 10 39 -29  Christian Ehrhoff 21 30 -9
 George Parros 33 33 0  Brad Staubitz 24 28 -4
 Scott Niedermayer 15 30 -15  Travis Moen 26 27 -1
 Rob Niedermayer 4 21 -17  Joe Thornton 45 26 +19

Yes, Rob Blake is right there down at the bottom of the Penalty Plus/Minus standings, but he's outweighed by the positive numbers of his mates up front. San Jose had the 4th-most power plays in the NHL this year, while Anaheim was ranked 28th. Similarly, Anaheim had the 4th-most penalty kills, while San Jose ranked 26th.

The Prediction

The Ducks may put up a fight, but I can't see them pulling off the upset. I like the San Jose Sharks in this one.

NHL Playoffs Blog Coverage, Schedule and Scores - SB Nation

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