Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Friday, March 21, 2008

BoC Gameday—A state divided

Anaheim Ducks (42-25-8, 3rd in west) at San Jose Sharks (44-21-9, 2nd in west)

PJ invades my post with a dubious picture. Can't trust those Sharks fans one bit.

The Sharks come into this one on a 14-game point streak (13-0-1), in which they've picked up one less point than the Ducks earned on their "record"-tying 16-game point streak (12-0-4) to start last season. I took a glance over the stats, and here's two stunning tidbits about the Sharks' streak:
(1) They have been outshooting their opponents like crazy, by a total margin of 457 - 330. In half the games they outshot their opponent by 10 shots or more.

(2) They are winning despite their special teams, not because of them. Over the streak, the Sharks have 10 power play goals for and 10 power play goals against (PP 17.5%, PK 80.4%). For comparison, when the Ducks went on their binge last year, they utilized a 20.9% PP and an 89.1% PK, and produced half a power-play goal more per game than their opponents.
San Jose is earning wins 5-on-5, by the looks of things, and that should be a sign for Sharks optimism; special teams should naturally improve, I think. That couldn't be said too much during Anaheim's streak.

I can't knock Anaheim's chances tonight, though. The Ducks have managed 15 wins in their last 19 games, four wins coming without the services of Chris Pronger. It's not all roses, certainly, but Giguere is playing Vezina-caliber hockey, and the two Niedermayers have really been playing phenomenally. One thing to watch for tonight will be Sammy Pahlsson and Joe Thornton. Jumbo Joe has but 1 goal and a -2 in five games against Pahlsson; Thornton's only multi-point effort against the Ducks this season came the one time Sammy was out of the lineup.

So what it boils down to is this: A Battle of California for the ages. Two teams that have been virtually neck-and-neck since the lockout, both now stockpiling wins at an alarming rate. They're about to collide for the first time in more than two months, and I can't wait.

It's deserving of its own version of "State Rape", don't you think?


My cousin snapped his neck trying to do this.

For anyone who's confused how we got to this level of geographic disdain: Minnesota (the debut), the Buffaslug, Minny's Revenge (guest artist PJ), New York's Big Apple, and recently the Battle of Ontario.

Prediction: The last time Selanne faced the Sharks, his former coach Ron Wilson challenged Teemu's stickblade in overtime, and Finns never forget. Ducks win 3-2 to make my Good Friday great. Goals by Selanne x2 and Pahlsson.

Go Ducks.


Mr. Plank said...

Im San Jose fans mind, the biggest goal of Selanne's career would have to be his non-goal against the Avs in 02 when he missed the open net on a wraparound. For some reason we just can't get over that. I guess the Fins never forget.

Should be a great one tonight. As you pointed out both teams are playing excellent hockey and will be contending for a Cup come April. Let's just hope the Sharks can take this one and nab a huge lead in the Pacific.

kevin said...

Couldn't quite figure out that pic until I read the caption. Bonus points for the Clerks reference.

RudyKelly said...

Does that make LA the taint?

Makes sense, I guess.

Earl Sleek said...

Couldn't quite figure out that pic until I read the caption.

Actually, it's very interpretive (I'm not even sure what the message is), except it's confusingly dirty. That's the problem when I start writing gameday posts way late at night. I just never know what's going to happen.

Eyeris said...

I have been waiting for this since the original Minnesota picture. Beautiful!

PJ Swenson said...

I added another photo to the top of this post. Can't make the morning skates, but I will be there for the game tonight.

Earl Sleek said...

Cool, PJ, though I think that picture might be some bad karma for the Sharks.

I mean, who really revels in beating up Ryan Carter? That'd be like me bragging about being faster than a guy with no legs.

Ah well, I suppose Sharks fans have to celebrate something about the season series.

PJ Swenson said...

No celebration, just cold hard photojournalism.

Earl Sleek said...

Heh, fair enough. I like the black-and-white effect. You can hardly tell how in love with the color orange both teams are.

PJ Swenson said...

I am trying to do a little research and find out the record for Anaheim against San Jose after the Brian Campbell trade...

RudyKelly said...

Does anyone know who does the play-by-play when a game is shown on Yahoo? I might watch it online if it means I don't have to listen to Heyward.

Julian said...

You love Hayward. Admit it.

RudyKelly said...

Hmm... you know, I've been meaning to write down all the reasons Brian Hayward is a joke; maybe tonight's the night.

Kelpfreak said...

No, really...that 3rd period wasn't really as one-sided as the boxscore made it out to be, was it?

Nael said...

In hits, maybe. The 3rd was all San Jose, I can't even remember a sustained Anaheim attack in that period aside from the last minute or so.

Hiller got robbed for one of the game's three stars, though, guy was playing out of his mind.

Angie said...

Incredible game. Of course, I especially say that since the Sharks won. :)