The Anaheim Ducks are an interesting team this year. The team, on paper, seems prepared to take a step back this year based on both who’s behind the bench (Randy Carlyle) and who sits on it (Jared Boll).
Anaheim learned the wrong lesson from its game seven defeat last postseason and seems poised to pay for it. Don’t get it twisted, though: there is far too much talent on this roster for the Ducks to be a team that is overlooked. In the long run the Sharks are almost certainly a better team, but on any given night Anaheim can give San Jose fits.
Boll’s inclusion on the Ducks makes Micheal Haley starting a very likely proposition. While Matt Nieto is absolutely a better player than Haley, I feel the Ducks have more to lose in this trade than the Sharks as Haley can outplay Boll on the ice, if not in a boxing ring.
The threats from this Anaheim team remain the same: Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf can torment the Sharks while Nicholas Ritchie has also posted strong possession numbers in the early goings. Check out the following WOWY chart from HockeyViz.com:
The relatively small number of blue boxes to the right of the red “ANA” box should give you some indication of the lack of depth on this team. The top six carries this year, so if the Sharks can handle Perry and Getzlaf they have a good shot of coming out of this game with a win.
Then there’s the goaltending. Martin Jones hasn’t been very good this season (.898 5v5 SV%), but the Ducks aren’t exactly getting stellar goaltending from John Gibson (.905) either. That’s probably not indicative of the talent level of either goalie, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
Anaheim posted both the best power play and penalty kill in the NHL last season (at least by rate stats) and this season has been good-not-great in both categories. Both teams have a success rate of 15 percent on the power play but the Ducks are attempting a league-best 117.5 shots per 60 minutes while on the man-advantage.
Corsica.Hockey has the Ducks as the best expected goals for team on the power play, too, with the Sharks clocking in at third. All that to say that it’s still too damn early to know a single thing, so let’s just root for a Sharks win over the damn Orange County Water Fowl. Deal?
|Tuesday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m. PT|
|SAP Center, San Jose, California, USA|
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|Stats and Figures|
|3rd in Pacific||Standings||4th in Pacific|
|56.82%||Even Strength, Score-Adj. Fenwick||54.22%|