The San Jose Sharks secured themselves a spot in the NHL Playoffs with a 6-0 beatdown of the Dallas Stars, something that just felt good to watch, didn't it? But that doesn't mean they should slack and coast on through, they need to play hard for the month of April, with five games remaining, all against Pacific Division foes. They're sitting one point ahead of the Red Wings for the second seed in the Western Conference, and three points on the Phoenix Coyotes for the division lead.
The Anaheim Ducks are coming to town on Saturday night, looking to join San Jose in the playoffs. San Jose is making it for their seventh straight season and expectations are high, but sitting at seventh in the conference, just one point back of the Nashville Predators and one point ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks. Every point counts for the Ducks, so they'll be playing hard.
San Jose has won eight of the last eleven outings between the two teams, though they've split four meetings this season. Antti Niemi will be in net for the Sharks, and he's 2-2-0 with a 2.01 GAA versus the Ducks. Ray Emery, in his last outing against the Sharks, was tagged for six goals on twenty-nine shots.
Both teams are riding some good momentum, with the Sharks winning two straight, including the aforementioned 6-0 outing versus the Stars, a game in which Patrick Marleau scored twice, while Dan Boyle, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Logan Couture and Ben Eager also put the puck to net. Niemi made 29 saves and notched his sixth shutout of the year. The Ducks had a great March, going 11-3-0 and have won three straight, including a fantastic performance on Wednesday in a 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames.
San Jose needs to keep the momentum on their side and play these last five games like they count - because they do. They face the Ducks, Kings, Ducks, Coyotes and Coyotes again, in that order, to round out their 2010-2011 NHL regular season. This stream will carry us through those games, so follow along for previews, news and recaps of them all.