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2018 AC Playoff Predictions: Round 1

How do your predictions match up against ours?

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

As your lovable writers of the Anaheim Calling community, we have undertaken the risk of putting our expertise on the line by making Round 1 predictions. We’ve each provided our predictions for the Ducks in Round 1 along with our reasoning. We also included our Round 1 predictions beyond the ANA v. SJS series in the table below (all predictions were provided before yesterdays’ Game 1). Feel free to agree or disagree!

John Broadbent

As good as it is that the Ducks have been in fine form heading into the playoffs (13 - 5 in March/April and entering the postseason on a 5 game win streak) and as bad as the Sharks have been down the stretch (10-5 in March/April and entering the postseason on a 6 game losing streak), I still think this series will go 7 games, mostly because the Sharks offense scares me and the Ducks defense (for various reasons but primarily due to injury) hasn’t exactly been consistent this season. The Sharks boast three 60+ points scorers to the Ducks’ two. They also have three 40 point scorers to the Ducks’ 2.

Offense: Sharks | Defense: Even | Goal: Ducks

It is going to come down to Gibby being healthy and doing Gibby things.

Ducks in 7.

Kyle Kiekenapp

Based on the regular season match-ups, SJ won 3/4 games against ANA. Two of the three wins were won in the shootout. In the shootout games that were lost against SJ, the goalie that lost in shootout had a strong Save %. Looking at the first game on Nov 4th, Jones posted a .962 Save % while Miller posted a .978 Save % and also didn’t have a healthy lineup. The Nov 20th game saw our 3rd string goalie. Berra posted a .952 Sv% while Jones posted a .933 Save %. Anaheim was still missing Gibby, Miller, Getzlaf, and Kesler at the time. Anaheim was still able to pull out a SOW. The Jan 21st game in ANA was a fluke for Miller & Gibson posting .750/.773, but Anaheim played with a completely healthy roster. The last game of the regular season was a home game which Anaheim ended up losing in another shootout. Gibson posted a .949 Save% while Jones posted a .926 Save %. I am a strong believer that even though SJ took the regular season match ups, they were only able to have success in OT and one in regulation. Even with the losses we had strong goatending in Gibson and Miller.

Anaheim in 6.

Jake Rudolph (jrudolph91)

John Gibson in all likelihood should be in net for the Ducks, and Ryan Getzlaf is, well, Ryan Getzlaf. Those two are difference makers for the Ducks. The Sharks were really hot post trade deadline but really cooled off at the end of the season limping into the playoffs going 1-4-1 in their last 6.

Ducks in 6.

Eric (DucksJaggernaut)

Ducks and Sharks fans know by now how games between these two teams play out. There are not a lot of goals, and the games are always extremely close. This series will be no different, and that’s why I feel like there’s no other way for this one to end besides in 7 games. I expect Anaheim will steal at least one in San Jose, and the Sharks will steal at least one in Anaheim. In any case, I think the Ducks squeak through in Game 7 after a disappointing showing from Martin Jones in a pivotal elimination game.

Ducks in 7.

Ben Thomasian

If Gibson’s injury had been serious this would have been Sharks in 4. Unfortunately for them, John Gibson is back to dash the hopes of the two or three Sharks fans in existence. No Joe Thornton to start the series, and with the Ducks starting at home ice, the hole will be too deep for the Sharks to climb out of. Sure, Evander Kane and Brent Burns will win them a few during the two games of Ryan Getzlaf’s scheduled “two games of non-scoring,” but given that monster’s propensity to elevate his scoring in the postseason, it’s goodnight Irene for the Sharks.

Ducks in 6.

CJ Woodling

The Sharks may have the edge in head to head record, but every game except for one was tightly contested. These teams don’t score much at all when they play each other and exemplify the style of heavy, grinding hockey game that the Western Conference has been known for.

However, the Sharks have stumbled recently while the Ducks have been on a hot streak. If Gibson is healthy, that could be the deciding factor in this series with Jones not having his best season. It should be a fun and extremely close series.

Ducks in 7.

Justin Ritzel

Truth be told, between Los Angeles, San Jose and Vegas, the Sharks were the last team I wanted the Ducks to see in the first round. San Jose has a knack for keeping the Ducks’ offense at bay. Over the last five years, Anaheim’s goals-per-game against the Sharks (2.26) is the lowest of any division opponent by a significant margin.

That said, the Ducks are a healthier group up front and have the decidely better goaltender. If I had to put my money on one goalie stealing a game or two to swing the series, it’s John Gibson. It will be tight because almost all Ducks-Sharks games are, but Anaheim has just enough to squeak by.

Ducks in 7.

Lois (LuckieDuckie8)

This match-up always tends to be a close one. One that is low scoring with plenty of spectacular saves. But just looking at recent history, this season was a bit of an anomaly with all the injuries in the first half of the season. So how do we begin evaluating the outcome of this Round 1 match up?

  1. Goaltending: Gibby by far is superior. He’s been rather spectacular I may say, and unfortunately for the Sharks, it looks like he will be available for Game 1. My concern for Gibby exceeds beyond Round 1, so I’m going to give this one to the Ducks.
  2. Defense: They have Brent Burns, and as wookie as he may be, the man is pretty much an animal. He will be key in the success of the Sharks—if they have any. Defense has been a bit of a roller coaster this season, and I’m not one to love a Randy Carlyle defense system. Cammy is out for the first round, so there’s that. But I’m clutching to the hope that things were starting to click on the blue line at the right time.
  3. Offense: Ryan Getzlaf must be his dominant self. Corey Perry must make subtle appearances and not allow us to forget his presence. And the game-changer is perhaps Adam Henrique who has been an absolute fantastic acquisition.

And the last factor is the Sharks being the Sharks. The Sharks may have experienced veterans, but they’ve had the same results for the past few years. They added Evander Kane, but no longer have Patrick Marleau (Toronto) and Joe Thornton (injury). Is this your year? Against a team that has fought off against injuries first half of the season and fought tooth and nail for that #2 seed? Probably not. Ducks have the momentum and take the series.

Ducks in 6.

Adam Hutchinson

This series is going to be an entertaining one. The Ducks were on the wrong side of the games against the Sharks this season, but it’s hard to use that as proof when as many of those games did not include the Ducks lineup that will play in the playoffs. On forwards, I think the Ducks have the upper hand because one team has Derek Grant and one doesn’t. Kidding (not really) (Editor’s note—he’s really not kidding). The main key up front for the Ducks is Ryan Getzlaf, and if he can turn into the “Hulk smash” monster he was in last year’s playoffs, this could be a playoff to remember. The defense to me is a wash. Yes, the Sharks have Brent Burns, and even though he’s coming off the Norris last season, his actual defensive play is another story. Overall, I think it will come down to goaltending. John Gibson has carried the Anaheim Ducks all season and I believe he can keep doing the same thing through the playoffs. As I said in my pre-season predictions, if the Ducks are to go far in these playoffs it will be because of the play of their goaltender, and I believe Gibson will be solid in the pipes as he has been all season.

Ducks in 6.

Jeremy Coffman (jcoffman517)

The Ducks are red hot coming into the playoffs having gone 10-1-1 in their last 12 games. Better yet, they get to host the Sharks where they are 26-10-5 on home ice. Both teams bring size and physicality, but if the Ducks can get Getzlaf to perform as he did last postseason, I like the Ducks’ chances. Also, with word that John Gibson has a chance to be back for Game One, the Ducks have the advantage in net. Look for the Ducks to win each of their home games and split wins on the road.

Ducks in 5.

Felix Sicard

Anaheim has already dodged the biggest bullet possible. John Gibson, out with injury just a week ago, is set to start in Game 1. Martin Jones has had a respectable season, but Gibson’s presence alone provides a sizable advantage for the Ducks. The 24-year old goaltender shouldn’t just be in the conversation for Vezina Trophy nominees — he should be talked about as a front-runner for the award.

Notice how only one player on Anaheim has been mentioned so far. That’s because outside of the netminders, these two California teams are mostly equals. Both boast bonafide top lines, and both experienced massive ups and downs throughout the regular season. Unfortunately for the Sharks, that “down” was the last two weeks of their campaign, where they closed out their schedule by dropping five of their final six games. Anaheim hasn’t lit the world on fire as of late, but they’ve been respectable.

The similarities diverge on the blueline. San Jose boasts some high-profile names in Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, but neither has been able to produce an elite pairing with their respective partners. The Ducks may be missing Cam Fowler for the entire series, but they can at least trot out one rock-solid pairing in Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson against the Sharks’ top line. Those two, along with the Ryan Kesler line, give head coach Randy Carlyle the tools to make good on home ice advantage.

A real advantage on the back-end, an even more real advantage in net, home ice, and a better end to the season seem to give the edge to the Southern California squad. The games will be close, as they tend to be whenever the Ducks are involved, but there seem to be too many factors working against the Sharks. This one won’t be pretty, but Anaheim should get the better end of it.

Ducks in 7.

Daniel Kleinberg

With only a few weeks left in the regular season, I joined Jake and CJ for a postgame pod. I, famously, said that the Ducks finish just outside of the playoffs. I’ll optimistically pick against the Ducks just to keep the reverse jinx going strong.

This should be an extremely entertaining series against two California rivals. It’s a tossup between the teams, but it will depend on who is in the Ducks lineup. If Gibson is healthy, I can see the Ducks moving onto the next round. The wildcard here is Kevin Bieksa. Will he play in Game 1? If so, a rusty ex-Canuck could be San Jose’s secret weapon. Regardless, Corey Perry will score an overtime goal to quiet the critics. The winner of this series will ultimately advance to the conference finals.

Sharks in 7.

JC McDonough

This is going to be an extremely close series, and I’m super excited for it. Anaheim is coming into the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the league while San Jose had a very mediocre 1-4-1 finish to the regular season. Despite the loss of Cam Fowler for at least part of the first round series, I think Anaheim has what it takes with their depth scoring and good defense (praise our Lord and Savior John Gibson) to take this series. It’s going to be a fun one, folks!

Ducks in 7.

2018 AC Staff Playoff Predictions: Round 1

Round 1 Matchups John Kyle Jake Eric Ben CJ Justin Lois Adam Daniel Kristen JC
Round 1 Matchups John Kyle Jake Eric Ben CJ Justin Lois Adam Daniel Kristen JC
#1 VGK v. WC LAK VGK in 7 LAK in 7 LAK in 6 LAK in 7 LAK in 7 LAK in 6 LAK in 6 LAK in 6 LAK in 6 VGK in 6 VGK in 7 LAK in 7
#2 ANA v. #3 SJS ANA in 7 ANA in 6 ANA in 6 ANA in 7 ANA in 6 ANA in 7 ANA in 7 ANA in 6 ANA in 6 SJS in 7 ANA in 6 ANA in 7
#1 NSH v. WC COL NSH in 6 NSH in 6 COL in 7 (Don't fully believe this but I gotta keep riding my 'Lanche) NSH in 5 NSH in 5 NSH in 6 NSH in 5 NSH in 5 NSH in 5 NSH in 5 NSH in 5 NSH in 6
#2 WPG v. #3 MIN WPG in 6 WPG in 5 WPG in 5 WPG in 6 WPG in 4 WPG in 6 WPG in 6 WPG in 6 WPG in 6 WPG in 5 WPG in 6 WPG in 5
#1 WSH v. WC CBJ WSH in 6 WSH in 7 WSH in 6 CBJ in 6 WSH in 7 WSH in 7 WSH in 5 WSH in 6 CBJ in 6 WSH in 6 WSH in 6 WSH in 6
#2 PIT v. #3 PHI PIT in 7 PIT in 7 PHI in 6 PHI in 7 PHI in 6 PHI in 7 PIT in 6 PIT in 7 PIT in 6 PIT in 5 PHI in 7 PIT in 5
#1 TBL v. WC NJD TBL in 4 TBL in 5 NJD in 7 TBL in 6 Taylor Hall in 7 TBL in 7 TBL in 5 TBL in 6 TBL in 5 NJD in 6 TBL in 5 TBL in 6
#2 BOS v. #3 TOR TOR in 6 TOR in 7 BOS in 6 TOR in 6 TOR in 6 BOS in 6 TOR in 6 BOS in 7 TOR in 6 BOS in 6 BOS in 7 BOS in 6