Anaheim Ducks (0-2 SU, 0-2 PL, 0-1-1 O/U) vs. San Jose Sharks (2-0 SU, 2-0 PL, 0-1-1 O/U)
NHL: Monday, April 16, 2018 at 10:30 p.m. EST
The San Jose Sharks will be hoping to finish off their Western Conference first-round series at home this week when they entertain the Anaheim Ducks at the SAP Center starting with Game 3 on Monday night. San Jose took each of the first two contests on the road. The Ducks’ struggles have come out of nowhere, as they ended the regular season on a five-game winning streak.
Backs against the wall
The Ducks are in a familiarly uncomfortable position, having lost the opening two games at home for the third time in their last five postseason appearances. They will have to start clawing back on the road, either in Game 3 on Monday or Game 4 later in the week. Anaheim closed the season with five consecutive wins to overtake the Sharks by one point for second place in the division, but San Jose quickly stole home-ice advantage with a 3-0 win in the series opener before putting the Ducks on the ropes with a 3-2 victory in Saturday’s Game 2. If there is any good news for Anaheim, it is that the team rebound from losing the first two contests at home last season before beating Edmonton in seven games.
“Sure, we can draw on that,” said defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who scored one goal in Game 2 and assisted on another. “People have not been believing in us all year but we know what we’re capable of.”
“We’ve been down (2-0) before,” fellow defenseman Brandon Montour added. They have to win four. The series isn’t over. It’s tough to lose two at home, but we’ll come back and play hard in the next game.”
The Sharks are 5-0-1 against the Ducks this season and have limited them to two regulation goals or fewer in eight consecutive meetings, but they are not taking anything for granted.
“We’ve all been around this league a long time and know that team over there has been in this position before and they have been able to claw their way back into a series,” San Jose forward Logan Couture said. “We know how important the next game is.”
San Jose goalie Martin Jones won only once in his final five starts of the regular season, but he has stopped 53 of 55 shots in this series and has surrendered only seven goals in five matchups against the Ducks this season. Captain Joe Pavelski, who has collected three assists in the first two games, said a key factor for San Jose was to not get rattled by Anaheim’s relentless physical play.
“(It’s) nothing we haven’t taken before,” Pavelski noted. “Maybe they are coming a little bit harder. Be poised. Make some plays. Stick to what we are trying to do.”
The Anaheim Ducks are:
- 1-4 in their last five Monday games
- 0-4 in their last four games against San Jose
- 4-10 in their last 14 road games against San Jose
The San Jose Sharks are:
- 11-5 in their last 16 overall
- 10-4 in their last 14 home games
- 20-6 in their last 26 games against the Pacific Division
Rickard Rakell, the Ducks’ leading goal-scorer (34) and overall points leader, has been limited to two shots on goal through the first two games. Goalie John Gibson has lost six consecutive starts to the Sharks. Injured defenseman Cam Fowler will not accompany the team to San Jose, head coach Randy Carlyle said. The Ducks entered the postseason with the fewest goals of any of the 16 teams. For the Sharks, Couture had a goal and an assist in Game 2 after collecting four points in four games in the regular-season series. Anaheim is 1-4 in its last five on Mondays and 4-10 in its last 14 trips to San Jose. The Sharks are 11-5 in their last 16 overall, 10-4 in their last 14 at home, 12-5 in their last 17 against the Western Conference, 20-6 in their last 26 against the Pacific Division, 8-3 in their last 11 playing on one day of rest, 8-2 in their last 10 following a win, and 4-0 in the last four meetings between the two teams. Expect those trends to continue.