PreGame PostUp: San Jose @ Anaheim

Posted: 01/09/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

The puck drops at 5:00p.m. as the Pacific Division rivals square off at the Honda Center.

The Stakes:

The tenth place Sharks trail our sixth place Ducks by one point and have two games in hand. Coach Carlyle told the OCR’s Eric Stephens;

“Every Western Conference game is, is critical now. You know, and there’s only so many points that are available.  As we always say, next one is the biggest one of the year.”

As Brian Hayward has said many times, the key to making the playoffs is having a winning record within your division. A regulation time win will put pressure on the Sharks to win those games in hand in order to overtake our Ducks in the standings.

Who’s Hot:

Matt Belesky a goal – 2 assists in 3 games; Corey Perry 8 goals – 7 assists in last 12 games; Brandon McMillan a goal – 4 assists in 5 games; Bobby Ryan 3 goals in 4 games; Teemu Selanne 2 goals – 3 assists in 5 games; Saku Koivu 1 goal – 4 assists in 5 games; When Girls Love Hockey bloggers Suz Broughton and Jenelyn Russo are hot; Lubomir Visnovsky 2 goals – 2 assists in 4 games; Toni Lydman 4 assists in 4 games; Jonas Hiller is 2-1 with GAA of 1.01 and a .966 SP in his last 3 GPI.

For the slumping San Jose Sharks, Ryan Clowe’s 2 goals – 3 assists in his last 6 games is the only Shark who qualifies for Who’s Hot.

Injuries:

Ryan Getzlaf, Aaron Voros and Jason Jaffray are out for the Ducks. Sharks Joe Pavelski  is listed as day-to-day and could be a game time decision. Depth forward John McCarthy has been placed on Injured Reserve and is out indefinitely.

The Buzz:

David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News reports on GM Doug Wilson team meeting yesterday. I recommend it highly, if only for the contrast between the Sharks and our Ducks culture.   In addition to listening to what their boss had to say, players gave self-evaluations in front of teammates and coaches. According to the report Wilson responded to each player’s self-assessment.

Players said Wilson was firm, but calm throughout the meeting – no shouting, no hockey sticks thrown around the room.

“With Dougie, he doesn’t have to scream and holler,” Scott Nichol said. “The way he speaks gets everybody’s attention.”

This is the Sharks first game following that meeting.

Keys to the Game:

The Sharks weak link, their defense, plays into the Ducks strong suit, their forechecking. The Sharks strong suit, their skating, measures well against some slower skating Ducks.

How this game is played is crucial. Against the smooth skating Sharks positioning is critical. Our Ducks need to take away the Sharks players time and space by being aggressive without the puck. Doing so takes away the speed advantage.

Ducks PP at home is 3rd in the NHL. Sharks PK on the road is 15th in the NHL. Our guys need to take advantage. Since newbie Maxim Lapierre is adept at drawing penalties, he could be one of the game’s 3 stars without registering a point.

Prediction:

Tough one. Our Ducks could be catching the slumping Sharks at the right time. On the other hand, teams generally respond well after hearing directly from the GM.

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