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Fear the Five: Players to watch for on the Anaheim Ducks

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With the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs underway, here are the top five players the Sharks will be up against in the first round.

Mar 9, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry (10) and center Ryan Getzlaf (15) and goalie John Gibson (36) take the ice to face the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center.  Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks will be playing Game One of their first round playoff match up tonight. Here are five players the Sharks will be looking out for at Honda Center:

Ryan Getzlaf

Regular season grade: A
Exceeded or under achieved this season?: Exceeded

Ryan Getzlaf is, without a doubt, the biggest problem the Sharks will see in their first-round match up. Getzlaf is quietly having another successful year for the Ducks, tallying 11 goals and 50 points for 61 points in 56 games, with injuries keeping him out of the line up for a large part of the season. Now healthy, the 32-year-old veteran is a 6-foot-4, 223 pound power-forward who likes to create chaos in-front of the net and use his body in close. Getzlaf is also one of the most dynamic players in the game during the playoffs and has recorded 118 points (!) in 121 career playoff games.

Rickard Rakell

Regular season grade: A
Exceeded or under achieved this season?: Exceeded

Rickard Rakell has got to be one of the most underrated players in the entire league. Over his last two seasons, the 24-year-old has recorded 120 points in 148 games. Rakell is coming off the best season of his career, scoring 69 (nice) points in 77 games. Rakell is one player who struggles during the post-season as he has only recorded 18 points in 42 career games. However, I believe this is the year where he will explode and will definitely be a player to keep an eye on.

Corey Perry

Regular season grade: B+
Exceeded or under achieved this season?: Under Achieved

Corey Perry is another power-forward the Sharks will have to watch out for as the 32-year-old 6-foot-3 Ontario native is a force to be reckoned with during the playoffs. Perry had one of the worst years of his career during the 2017-2018 season. In 71 games, Perry only managed to put up 49 points. The bad news for Sharks fans is that much to the likes of Getzlaf, Perry really turns up his play during the playoffs and has recorded 89 points in 114 career post-season games.

John Gibson

Regular season grade: B+
Exceeded or under achieved this season? Met Expectations

John Gibson can be the deciding factor of this series. If he plays to his full potential with the Ducks’ solid D-corps, it will be some scary times for the San Jose Sharks’ offense. Gibson is coming off a successful year where he finished the regular season with a goals-against average of 2.43 and a save percentage of .926%, good enough for eighth in the league. However, Gibson often struggles during the playoffs — through 22 career post-season games, he holds an 11-9-0 record with a .917 save percentage and a 2.66 GAA.

Jakob Silfverberg

Regular season grade: B-
Exceeded or under achieved this season? Under Achieved

Silfverberg makes this list because of his playoff performances. In 65 career post-season games, the 27-year-old swede has recorded 17 goals and 26 assists for a total of 43 points. Silfverberg is also coming off his second career-best NHL season, wherein 77 games he put up 40 points. When Silfverberg is on the ice during the playoffs, he is scary to play against. Just ask the Western-Conference teams during the 2014-2015 playoffs, where he put up 18 points in 16 games.

The Sharks will have to watch out for those big five, as well as honorable mentions including a pair of Ducks defensemen in Josh Manson and Brandon Montour and speedy center, Adam Henrique. The big thing the Sharks will have to look out for is a not necessarily a speedy Ducks team, but a team who likes to use their big bodies in front of the net and down the wing. Finally, the Anaheim defense likes to jump in and create scoring chances from the point, with Fowler and Manson leading the way. The Sharks’ defense will have to tighten up against a team that creates scoring chances all over the ice.