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Ducks-Sharks Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM
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Ducks-Sharks Preview
Anaheim Ducks vs. San Jose Sharks
It was five weeks ago that the Anaheim Ducks were 12th in the Western Conference, with four teams and four points between them and the final playoff spot. And it was two weeks ago that defenseman Ryan Whitney, with his Ducks suddenly on the verge of breaking into the postseason, uttered these words: “You never what can happen. I don’t think we’re a team that anyone is dying to play in the first round.”

The San Jose can now attest first-hand to that, being put on the brink of elimination after a 4-0 beating by the Ducks in Game 4 at Honda Center. A win in Saturday night's Game 5 in San Jose would move the Ducks to the next round, while San Jose would endure yet another playoff disappointment.

Anaheim
played probably its best game of the series on Thursday against a Sharks team that won the Presidents' Trophy for the league's best record in the regular season. They didn’t let minor distractions like the 20-minute delay from broken glass between the benches in the second period get to them. They played at a high pace and still stayed disciplined, giving the Sharks just two power play opportunities (both killed off).

The Ducks also got another titanic effort from Jonas Hiller, who stopped all 31 shots from San Jose en route to his second shutout of the series. And the team’s top forward grouping – the RPG line of Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf – was dominant with three goals (two from Ryan), six points and a combined plus-nine rating. 

“We were more effective after we got the lead than any other game we’ve played,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said.” That is encouraging for us. There was a lot of grit and determination displayed. That is what it’s going to take because we know going into San Jose that they’re going to do everything they possibly can to play a better game than they played last night.”

By putting the Sharks in a 3-1 hole, the Ducks have taken a major advantage in the series. But that can all go away in the blink of an eye if Anaheim does not finish what it has started, eliminate and advance to the second round. The Ducks will get the first crack at that fate Saturday night at HP Pavilion.

2009 Conference Quarterfinal
vs.
Features/Multimedia

Historically, the Ducks have faired well in close-out games. In their previous six trips to the postseason, Anaheim has a 10-3 record (6-1 since 2005-06) in games where they could clinch a series. While it’s been an easier task in the past at home (8-0 all-time) than on the road (2-3), the Ducks want to reverse that trend beginning with the time the puck is dropped on Saturday.

“We have to be in their face from the get-go,” said Corey Perry of Game 5. “It’s going to be huge for our team. If we can get that first goal and set them back on their heels a little bit, that is when we’re at our best.”

Said Whitney, “They’re playing for their season, so they’ll come out flying. It’s about weathering the storm and playing well. If we can play the first 10 minutes real solid, not be down and possibly get one goal ourselves, it will put us in good shape.”

"We have to squash the reputation that we've developed," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "We're probably a game or two late for already starting. ... Right now, our character is being questioned. It's our job to prove people right or wrong."

Of the 229 teams that have gone up 3-1 in a Stanley Cup Playoff series, 209 have gone on to win the series (91.3 percent). The Sharks are one game away from becoming the fourth Presidents' Trophy winner to lose in the first round since the NHL began handing out the award in 1986. The St. Louis Blues did it in 2000, and the Detroit Red Wings lost to Edmonton three years ago after compiling 124 points.

The current scenario seemed almost unimaginable for both the Ducks and Sharks just seven weeks ago. But the biggest task of all is lying at the feet of Anaheim – the fourth and final victory. If they secure it, they can make everything, including Whitney’s statement from two weeks ago, a permanent reality.

“We haven’t done anything yet really,” said Whitney after Friday’s practice at Honda Center before the team departed to San Jose. “We still have one big game to win that is the toughest game to win. We’ve played well so far. We’re playing with confidence and if we play like we did last night, we’re going to give a lot of good teams hard-fought games.”

Said Ryan Getzlaf, "We're going to go in with the mentality that we want to get that win in San Jose. We don't want to prolong it any longer. We know what we're up against. (The Shark Tank) hasn't been a friendly building for anybody this year. We know we're going to get their best effort."

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 27 '09 SJS 1 at ANA 4 T. Selanne
Apr 25 '09 ANA 2 at SJS 3 - OT P. Marleau
Apr 23 '09 SJS 0 at ANA 4 B. Ryan
Apr 21 '09 SJS 4 at ANA 3 P. Marleau
Apr 19 '09 ANA 3 at SJS 2 D. Miller
Apr 16 '09 ANA 2 at SJS 0 S. Niedermayer
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Getzlaf5156+4800
B. Ryan5404+4021
S. Niedermayer5134+3011
R. Whitney5044+2200
C. Perry5213+4600
D. Miller5202+2001
C. Pronger5112+6600
J. Wisniewski5112+2400
A. Ebbett5112+0200
R. Niedermayer5022+3800
R. Carter2101+0000
T. Marchant5011+2000
T. Selanne5011+0000
E. Christensen5011-1000
M. Brown5011-1400
F. Beauchemin5000-1000
G. Parros5000-1500
S. Brookbank5000-21200
P. Nokelainen3000+0200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Hiller53-291931.77.953
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Thornton5145-3010
P. Marleau5213+0612
D. Boyle5213+0210
D. Setoguchi5123-1200
R. Blake5123-4400
J. Cheechoo5112+1400
R. Clowe5112-3600
J. Roenick5011-11200
J. Pavelski5011-2400
M. Vlasic5011-4000
B. Lukowich5000+1000
M. Grier5000-1600
D. Murray5000-1700
M. Goc5000-1200
C. Ehrhoff5000-2000
M. Michalek5000-2000
T. Moen5000-3000
T. Mitchell3000-1000
C. Lemieux1000+0000
J. Shelley1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
E. Nabokov52-3131232.57.894

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