Wrapping up their home stand a tidy 1-0-0, the Sharks (25-14-6, 2nd Pacific) will visit the resurgent Anaheim Ducks (22-16-9, 5th Pacific) at Honda Center tonight. The Ducks have rebounded into a formidable opponent after the first half of their season was decimated by injury. Considering the fact that they were still winning games with Chris Wagner as first line center, this is no team to be taken lightly at full strength.
For instance, on 21 December, the Ducks sat 11th overall in the Western Conference. Since that date, they've put together a record of 8-3-1 and now sit... wait... 11th overall in the Western Conference. Streaks from the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche during that time notwithstanding, it says quite a bit about what it takes to make up ground in today's NHL. The Ducks most recently came out on top of the flailing Los Angeles Kings Friday night, 2-1, and tonight will mark Andrew Cogliano's return from a controversial two game suspension.
The Sharks are coming fresh off of a 2-1 win of their own at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, reclaiming second place in the division from the Flames in the process. The contest was one of their best performances in recent history, and may cause some concern headed into a back to back on the road. Indeed, Aaron Dell is set to start his first back to back of the season, and it should be interesting in regards to his future as a starter, be it in San Jose or (probably) elsewhere.
Dell's numbers this year are sterling. He boasts an 11-3-2 record on the season, 9-0-1 with a save percentage of .932 since 29 November, and this will mark the first time he's ever faced the Ducks. Two teams and three points separate the Sharks and Ducks in the standings, but San Jose has two games in hand. With the Ducks sitting on a four game home winning streak, this will be a challenge for our boys in blue.
Tonight's game seems destined to be a tight-checking, low scoring affair, as these two teams last traded shootout wins in November. In fact, over the last three seasons, the Sharks and Ducks have played each other 11 times, four of which went past regulation, and only one of which ended with a lead of more than one.
Bet the under on this one, friendos.
Timo Meier -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Kevin Labanc
Mikkel Boedker -- Chris Tierney -- Jannik Hansen
Barclay Goodrow -- Joel Ward -- Melker Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Tim Heed
Injured: Martin Jones (lower body), Joonas Donskoi (flu)
Rickard Rakell -- Ryan Getzlaf -- Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano -- Ryan Kesler -- Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie -- Adam Henrique -- Ondrej Kase
Chris Wagner -- Antoine Vermette -- J.T. Brown
Cam Fowler -- Kevin Bieksa
Hampus Lindholm -- Josh Manson
Francois Beauchemin -- Brandon Montour
Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Jared Boll, Derek Grant
Injured: Patrick Eaves (illness)
Where to Watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, PRIME
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App