Anaheim Ducks Struggle Against Division Rivals

SKCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2010

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 21:  Brad Staubitz #59 of the San Jose Sharks is stopped by Sheldon Brookbank #21 and goalie Jonas Hiller #1 of the Anaheim Ducks at HP Pavilion on January 21, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

While the Ducks have started the second half of the season off just the way they needed to, they're still struggling to beat the teams that matter most. Teams in their own division.

Since the Ducks started winning games with regularity, they've taken two losses in their past nine games...both to Pacific Division rivals. 

After losing Teemu Selanne for the second time this season to a major injury, the Ducks lost an emotionally overwhelming game to the Kings 4-0. Instead of pulling closer to the Kings, Anaheim allowed Los Angeles to put more distance between the two in the standings. 

Recently, the Ducks have embarked on a six game road trip that kicked off in San Jose.  The Ducks have had zero luck against the Sharks in their previous four meetings this season. 

Thursday night was no exception as their regular season record against the Sharks is now 0-5. 

The Ducks gave up two goals and an empty netter in their 3-1 loss to the Sharks.  Simply, San Jose has shown no mercy to Anaheim since the Ducks eliminated the Sharks in the first round of the playoffs last spring. 

There is no denying that the Sharks are just one of a handful of teams dominating the league again this season, and just like last year, the Ducks are having a hard time figuring out how to beat their interstate foes. 

The fact of the matter is that the Ducks are going to need to find ways to take points in the remaining games against their division rivals. 

The Ducks have eight games remaining against the Pacific Division; one game against San Jose and Phoenix, two against Dallas, and four against Los Angeles.    

That is 16 points up for grabs in the Pacific Division for Anaheim. 

With the Ducks close to Dallas at this point, and with the Kings having a slight hold on the eighth and final spot in the West, there is an opportunity to swing the standings in Anaheim's favor. 

If the Ducks can find ways to take some points on their current road trip against some irrelevant teams in the East, it will only make their case stronger as they push for the playoffs. 

The Ducks are not out of the postseason at this point, and the best way to ensure that they make it is to take some points from their immediate competition. 

On a bigger scope, winning, against any team, is equally important. 

In a positive light, the Ducks are finding their footing. Even with key injuries to the lineup, the team is rallying and playing some of their best hockey in months. 

With time running out, they need to start winning in their own division if they want to make the postseason an option.