Kind of hard to believe that this is only the third time these two clubs have met this season. While the Ducks aren't having a great year, I can take pride in the fact that two of the nine wins the Ducks have come from the Sharks. In the teams first meeting of the season, the Ducks won but lost Jason Blake for 2-3 months with a wrist laceration caused by Brent Burns skate - no biggie, right? The last time the teams met on October 17th, the Ducks won again and were 4-1-0 and the Sharks were 1-4-0 after the game. We all rejoiced in the best start since The Cup year. Thus awakening the Gods of Magumbo.
From that moment on, the Ducks had used up whatever good karma they had and went into a complete tailspin. (Jason Blake and tailspin. I still don't get it.) A result of the swan dive to the bottom of the league is a change in management in Anaheim. This is Bruce Boudreau's introduction to the Sharks and Ducks rivalry. He's isn't a match up coach the way Carlyle was, so it will be interesting to see if he rolls out Ryan Getzlaf against Joe Thornton as we're so used to seeing.
My optimism tank is running low, but beating the crap out of the Sharks - physically and offensively - might do the boys some good. (I'm not sure of anything anymore.) There is something about the Sharks that brings out the blood-lust in the Ducks. Any kind of physicality since the October 17th meeting has come out of pure frustration. I make no secret that I believe the Sharks are the Ducks number one rival, just edging Detroit. I hate them and about 98% of their fans. I'm hoping Santa brought the Ducks a swift kick in the pants that will bring about a Boxing Day miracle - a Ducks win.
Sharks Note: It's Antii Niemi in goal tonight for the fishies.
Ducks Notes: No surprise, Jonas Hiller is going for the Ducks. Saku Koivu is with the team in San Jose and skated this morning. Boudreau has deemed him as a "game time decision". If he's not good to go, Nick Bonino will take his place again on the second line, and Andrew Cogliano (the best center in the game versus the Kings?!) will center the third line. Lastly, Jean-Francois Jacques was called up from Syracuse this morning.