The Sharks and Ducks will meet tonight for the first time in in the 07/08 regular season. The last meeting between the two teams was a 3-1 Sharks victory in the preseason, the line-ups were a mix of tryout players and some vets. Now the teams meet with their rosters set.
Anaheim has had to deal with some early season injuries and currently sit in the 10 spot in the West. The Ducks look slightly different from last years Stanley Cup winning team. The loss of Scott Niedermayer on the blueline, Teemu Selanne up front and Dustin Penner on the wing has turned a very lethal team into a beatable team this year. The opening on the blueline was filled by the signing of free agent defenseman Mathieu Schnieder. Although Schnieder missed the beginning of the season due to injury- he has returned and the Ducks powerplay has benefited. Todd Bertuzzi also joined the team during the summer as a free agent. His addition replaced the size and skill lost with Dustin Penner. The Ducks look to bounce back at home against the Sharks after a 5-0 pounding by Dallas and a 6-5 loss to the Coyotes.
The Sharks are looking for a way to put more pucks in the net. After a 3-1 loss to Dallas on Wednesday, San Jose was left looking for answers. The Sharks out shot Dallas 39-12, and still managed to lose the game. It is hard to say whether or not the team has showed up to play a full 60 minutes thus far through the season. At times the Sharks look very unmotivated. Players have been lazy getting back, and not finishing checks, and this has given opponents many chances to thrive against San Jose. The team looks to put together a string of victories and catch fire. When the Sharks decide to do that, this team will once again be a favorite to the cup.
The Ducks and Sharks have almost started the season exactly the same, but opposite. Anaheim has played well at home (5-3-2) while the Sharks have only one win (1-4-0) before the home crowd. San Jose has had success on the road with a 6-3-1 record. Anaheim has struggled away from the pond going 1-5-1 on the road. Each team finds themselves near the middle of the pack, after being labeled as early season favorites. San Jose has yet to put up 5 goals in a game, with an offense some said would be hard to stop.
Tonight's match up will be a battle from start to finish. All Sharks fans can do is hope the team shows up to play tonight, for a full 60 minutes. This is an important early season divisional match up that the Sharks must win, in my opinion. The Sharks need to stay atop the Pacific division, because with the play of other Western conference teams, second in the Pacific may not get you a playoff spot!
Thanks for reading and enjoy tonight's game! GO SHARKS !
Sharks fans, make sure you give my last blog a read!
What are your thoughts on the early season struggles?