Sunday evening NHL action and a pair of teams from the Pacific Division will square off as the San Jose Sharks duke it out with the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The Sharks will be playing on no rest as they have a home game against the Penguins on Saturday, while the Ducks are off a 2-1 home win over the Kings. Goalie Probables: The Sharks will be sending out Aaron Dell in this one and he will be opposed by John Gibson.
Lines: Anaheim -146/ San Jose +132
Sharks Can’t Slow Down The Avs
The Colorado Avalanche are red-hot and the Sharks had a chance to cool them off, but they fell in Colorado by a score of 5-3 in their last game at the time, they became the 8th consecutive victim for the Avs. The Sharks fell behind 4-0 at the 1:34 mark of the 2nd period and just were never able to recover from that and that loss broke a three-game win streak that they were on. The Sharks are in a 2nd place tie with the Flames in the Pacific Division, but both teams are 10 points behind the Golden Knights. Scoring in the loss to the Avs was Timo Meier, which was his 6th, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, which was his 6th and Joe Thornton. The Sharks have gone 11-12 on the road and they have averaged 2.65 gpg and have allowed 2.87 gpg in those games.
Taking the loss against the Avs was Martin Jones, who allowed five goals on 22 shot attempts to fall to 14-15 with a 2.68 GAA and a .910 save percentage on the year. Jones is expected to get the start on Saturday, so for this one, it will be Aaron Dell and he has gone 10-5 with a 2.26 GAA and a .925 save percentage on the year including 6-3 with a 2.53 GAA and a .920 save percentage on the road. In his career, has gone 10-9 with a 2.43 GAA out on the road and 8-2 with a 1.76 GAA against the Pacific Division. This will be his first-ever starts against the Ducks
San Jose has been poor on offense so far as they come in ranked 21st in the league in scoring at 2.80 gpg, while also ranking 11th in shots taken (32.9 spg) and 5th in power play conversions, converting on 21.9% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very good as they come in ranked 7th in goals allowed, giving up just 2.66 gpg, while also ranking 4th in shots allowed (30.1 spg) and 4th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on just 15.8% of their chances.
Kesler Lifts Ducks Over Kings
The Anaheim Ducks have not had a great year so far, but they are playing better of late as they have now won six of their last nine games after beating the Kings at home by a score of 2-1 on Friday night. Their recent play now has them in a 4our-way tie with Colorado, Los Angeles and Minnesota for the 8th slot in the Western Conference playoff standings. They are right in the thick of the race and this has been a second-half team. All the scoring in the game against the Kings came in the 3rd period and it was Adam Henrique that got the scoring started for the Ducks with his 11th of the year. The Kings quickly tied the game and then 7:33 later it was Ryan Kesler who notched the game-winner with his 3rd goal of the year. He has missed time and has played in just 10 games this year, so they are glad to have him back. The Ducks have gone 12-11 here at home for the year and they have averaged 2.70 gpg and have allowed 2.57 gpg in those games.
John Gibson had a very good outing against the Kings as he stopped 23 of the 24 shots that he faced in the game to move to 16-18 with a 2.59 GAA and a .923 save percentage on the year, including 10-10 with a 2.55 GAA and a .926 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 48-33 with a 2/13 GAA in his home games and 31-18 with a 1.90 GAA against the Pacific Division, while against the Sharks he has gone 2-2 with a 1.61 GAA.
The Ducks have been poor on offense so far this year as they come in ranked 25th in the league in scoring at 2.70 gpg, while also ranking 30th in shots taken (29.5 spg) and 23rd in power play conversions, converting on 16.7% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very solid as they come in ranked 6th goals allowed, giving up 2.64 gpg, while also ranking 27th in shots allowed (33.5 spg) and 8th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 16.8% of their chances.
San Jose is:
- The Under is 26-10-16 in their last 52 vs. the Pacific
- The Under is 15-6 in their last 21 vs. a team with a losing record
- The Under is 8-2-1 in their last 11 home games
- The Under is 19-9-1 in their last 29 vs. a team with a winning record
The Anaheim Ducks have been playing better of late and the Sharks will be playing this game on no rest. I feel that gives the Ducks an edge here, but still, I will not be looking at the winner in this game. Aaron Dell gets the start for the Sharks and he has played very well against the Pacific Division in his career with a 1.76 GAA in his games within the division. John Gibson has a decent 2.56 GAA here at home for the year and he has a solid 1.90 GAA in his career against the Pacific Division, including a 1.61 GAA against the Sharks. Neither offense is all that good, so the goalies and defenses should be able to control this game. I like the Under here and the clincher is the fact that the Under is 41-18-9 the last 68 games in this series.