Caution: Ducks X-ing
With only a few days left in the regular season teams are still trying to secure a spot for this year's playoffs. In the western conference Anaheim, St. Louis, Minnesota, and Nashville are fighting to make it into the final two slots and get that 'X' next to their name.
Without a game until Friday the Ducks can only sit and wait and see what happens with the other clubs who have all been in competition this week.
After a frustrating loss against the league leading San Jose Sharks, the Ducks are looking for some pay back. With only two games remaining this weekend against the Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes, the Ducks can possibly lock up a playoff spot and possibly fall into the eighth position which would set up a series against San Jose. This would mark the first time two California teams would meet in a playoff series.
If I were San Jose I would be watching very closely at who gets into the eighth and final spot and not worry about trying to secure the President's trophy because the Ducks are one of the most dangerous teams right now in the NHL. San Jose knows first hand after a 5-2 defeat last Saturday and a not so easy 3-2 road victory the very next night in the Honda Center.
Most people know that the Ducks haven’t been that much of a home team this year. The Ducks have been more successful flying away from home and taking away victories from home teams. That sparks a problem for the Sharks who will have home ice advantage against any team they face in the western conference.
A poll on the Sharks homepage asks the question, “who would be the Sharks toughest first round opponent?” Anaheim is leading the voting at 46% over second place St. Louis with 15%. The fans know it, do the Sharks?
San Jose is slated to get both Claude Lemieux and Mike Grier back into their lineup and it couldn’t be at a better time. San Jose will need them at their best if they are going to be facing a feisty and very upset Anaheim Ducks squad who has been tremendous of late, especially on the power play.
Time will tell when the Ducks face off against Dallas this Friday at home and in Phoenix against the Coyotes on Saturday. Will four days of rest throw them off their hot streak? Or will they continue to storm through teams and secure a playoff spot and be a force to be reckoned with? We'll know this weekend.
Dear all western conference teams, the Ducks are not out of it just yet and they’re playing like they want to make a point. Oh yeah, they won the Stanley Cup only a couple of seasons ago. Ye’ all be warned. The Ducks are flying high and don’t plan on stopping until they reach the finals.
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