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Sharks Flounder vs Ducks 3-1, stumble out of Pacific Division lead – Game 77

Everyone has a nemesis, whether it be a person, place or thing it’s one factor that can completely undo you or defeat you no matter what the circumstance.

Image from sbnation.com -

For Superman its Kryptonite, Wile E Coyote has the Road Runner, and for the Sharks or more specifically Joe Pavelski, it’s Jonas Hiller.

Vanilla Sky finds the Sharkies funny...

Yes, once again Jonas ‘Vanilla Sky’ Hiller could do no wrong as the Sharks peppered him with vulcanized rubber discs only to be rebuked at every turn.

More specifically Pavelski, who was categorically denied 6 times, including a golden point blank shot midway through the third.

The Sharks looked flat early on, and paid the price as the Ducks jumped out ahead and didn’t look back. The Yucks may be last place but don’t tell that to San Jose who has gone 1-5 against their Southern California counterparts.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way for the San Jose Sharks. Coming off an impressive 3-0 stretch and a dominant performance against the Colorado Avalanche, San Jose did exactly what I thought they would do against the cellar dwelling Ducks of Anaheim.

And that is, lose their focus, lose their confidence and lose their slim Pacific Division lead. All the talk of taking care of business and rolling all four lines against the Avalanche, the Sharks promptly went out and laid a mental egg.

But wait! It gets better! Did I mention Dallas defeated Edmonton 3-1 to hop back into the division lead with 89 points and the Kings dominated the Flames 3-0?

The Sharks now find themselves on the bubble looking up at the Stars and Kings and deadlocked with the Calgary Flames of all teams.

The Sharks still control their fate, but they’ll need to get their shit together on the road as they are now 2-11 in their last 13 road games. Next up is the Coyotes who get captain Shane Doan back from suspension, after which the Sharks face home and home sets against Dallas and Los Angeles, three of those games are on the road.

The Sharks have got to get back to playing focused, mistake free hockey in order to try and make the postseason. It’s time for the play on the ice to match the words spoken in the locker room.

Let’s go boys. Go Sharks

San Jose Sharks Game Day #77 – Downing the Ducks

The ever changing standings in the Western Conference will be as jumbled as ever when the Sharks head to the Honda Center to face a familiar foe in the Ducks.

Holding on to the slimmest of leads in the Pacific Division, the Sharks need their “A” game tonight if they hope to extend their one point lead over Dallas.

They’d be best served by remembering just where they were a mere week ago, sitting in the ninth spot in the West and looking lost after struggling against the Kings and Ducks.

Behind Martin Havlat’s return to the lineup, some chemistry is brewing on the Winnik-Desjardins-Wingels line, and improved scoring from the bottom six skaters has led to winning 3 in a row and 5 of their last 7 to surge ahead of Dallas in the Pacific.

But it’s been tough sledding for the Tiburones against the Ducks, going just 1-4-0, with the lone victory back on Jan 4th behind a Benn Ferriero wrister.

The Ducks have always been a thorn in the Sharks’ side, and this year is certainly no different. On paper this is a Ducks team that isn’t very deep, lacks secondary scoring and is extremely top heavy in talent… Sound familiar?

San Jose needs to continue to play smart hockey and stay focused, something they didn’t do much of late in their big win over Colorado.

So without further ado, here are my 3 keys to Game 77.

3. Keep to the task at hand – The Ducks will undoubtedly come out with some fire and try to impose their will against the Sharks. San Jose must keep their heads in the game and not play outside of themselves, which is a concern given the chippy and often dirty nature of the Ducks.

Paying the price to make the right smart play will be the mantra tonight, as the Ducks are no stranger to throwing their bodies around with 1,741 hits to their credit this year.

2. Get out to a fast start – Pretty simple right? The Sharks need to get on the board first to continue to build their confidence and extend their sparkling .743 winning percentage when scoring first.

Getting the Ducks to overextend and push the play will be key, because beating Jonas Hiller is hard enough without the Ducks clamming up in their end. Getting on the board will also help keep the Anaheim faithful in their seats, all twelve of them.

1. Back up the talk – We’ve all seen the famous cookie cutter quotes and snippets from the locker room. Joe talking about accountability, Marleau talking about how every game is a 7th game, Pavelski saying they need to play smart.

Well this game will be another chance for the Sharks to put up or shut up, because the Ducks have spolier written all over them. If San Jose does not come out and take care of business quickly, they could once again be on the outside looking in with several crucial Western games on the docket tonight.

Does the deck look stacked against the Sharks tonight? Anytime Jonas Hiller (sans vertigo ) is facing the Sharks, you can’t like San Jose’s chances. With a disgusting .944 career save percentage against the Sharkies, it’s fair to say that Shark fans think Hiller is the second coming of Lucifer.

I really really really hate this guy....

But the Ducks are still in shambles, with Getzlaf trade rumors continuing to persist, and head coach Bruce Boudreau cursing at epic speed, the Ducks look like a lottery pick is in their near future.

Having said all that though, Game 77 still feels, smells and tastes like a trap game to me. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong.

Go Sharks.