The San Jose Sharks (45-27-10, 3rd Pacific) host the Anaheim Ducks (44-25-13, 2nd Pacific) tonight for what could be the last time this season. We all seem to have passed through an invisible wall into a fantastic dreamscape today, where the Los Angeles Kings have been swept out of the first round by the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, and the Ducks sit precariously on the brink of elimination themselves. We hopefully only have a few more hours to share in the Knights' joie de vivre before they become our bitter rivals.
Assuming the New Jersey Devils don't take the Tampa Bay Lightning to quadruple overtime, the Sharks could be the first team ever to close out an NHL playoff series on the Golf Channel. If the Sharks want to approximate the same level of rest and relaxation the Knights will be getting over the coming days, they'll have to replicate what went right on Monday night. So, everything.
After San Jose's absurd 8-1 win, the Sharks sat tied with the Boston Bruins for most goals scored so far (14), and with the Knights for fewest allowed (3). The eight goals that San Jose scored set a franchise post season record, and Martin Jones somehow further improved his playoff stat line with 45 saves. He is now second in the league this post season behind Marc-Andre Fleury in save percentage (.970) and goals against average (1.00).
There's no reason to believe that the Ducks' parade to the penalty box won't continue unabated. They led the league in penalties with 21 at the start of game action today, and their players own four of the top ten spots in most penalties taken. The Sharks have taken advantage, as their power play is cruising at a 35.3% efficiency through three games. Game three was a stark example: the Ducks took ten penalties and allowed four power play goals.
We all know the score here, a 0-3 deficit in a series is nigh insurmountable, but for Sharks fans, that "nigh" looms large. Only four teams have ever come back from that deficit to win four in a row and move on, and for some reason I can only remember three of them. The Sharks are 4-1 when holding a 3-0 lead, which sounds nice, but it's also one of the worst records in professional sports in that situation. Still, the Ducks looked very defeated Monday night and the Sharks looked deadly.
This sure doesn't feel like 2014, so let's put these guys out of their misery.
Evander Kane -- Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Kevin Labanc
Marcus Sorensen -- Eric Fehr -- Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin -- Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Joakim Ryan, Joel Ward, Jannik Hansen, Dylan Gambrell, Barclay Goodrow, Antoine Bibeau
Injured: Joe Thornton (knee)
Rickard Rakell -- Ryan Getzlaf -- Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano -- Ryan Kesler -- Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie -- Adam Henrique -- Ondrej Kase
Jason Chimera -- Derek Grant -- J.T. Brown
Josh Manson -- Hampus Lindholm
Francois Beauchemin -- Brandon Montour
Marcus Pettersson -- Andy Welinski
Scratched: Antoine Vermette, Kevin Bieksa, Chris Kelly, Troy Terry, Korbinian Holzer, Reto Berra, Jacob Larsson
Injured: Cam Fowler (shoulder), Patrick Eaves (illness)
Where to watch
Broadcast: GOLF, NBCSCA, PRIME, TVAS2, SN1
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App