Anaheim Ducks: Your Stanley Cup dream is over
The second sweep amongst Pacific division teams this postseason sees Anaheim head out the playoffs 4-0 against San Jose.
In 2016 San Jose made it all the way to the finals of the Stanley Cup where they lost to Pittsburgh. Last season it was Anaheim who represented the Pacific division as they were eliminated by Nashville in the Western Conference finals.
This year it looks like San Jose are the real deal – but they will walk into Las Vegas, the only other side to confirm their place in the next round.
Game one was in Anaheim with the home fans painting the arena orange. The players, however, did not carry that same enthusiasm as they floundered to a 3-0 defeat. Evander Kane scored two goals in his playoff debut and Brent Burns finished the scoring off.
Game two was a closer affair but San Jose still dominated the shooting and the scoring chances. Jakob Silfverberg opened the Ducks postseason scoring, but the Sharks responded with two goals to lead 2-1 after the first period.
Tomas Hertl scored early in the second to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead before Hampus Lindholm scored a power-play goal to make it 3-2. San Jose rode the game out to take a 2-0 series lead.
On Monday San Jose hit Anaheim for EIGHT goals in an absolute rout. The Sharks were outshot in every period, but the only stat that counts fell way in favor of the home side.
Game four was a tighter affair than game three, but the result was still the same. San Jose took a 2-1 victory thanks to Marcus Sorensen and Tomas Hertl.
And there we have it. Another sweep!
What next for Anaheim?
Well, the Ducks are a great team who have been really hampered by injuries this past season. They could be tempted to retool this summer to try and become younger and faster but I suspect that the team will give this current group another season together.
Ultimately, though Anaheim represents an older era of heavy hockey which has been quickly forgotten about. They and LA are the last two teams who utilise this style and it will not be surprising to see this teams try to change that this summer.
What next for San Jose?
A tantalizing tie with Las Vegas! The Sharks and Vegas were certainly not at the top of anyone’s pre-season contenders but one of them will make it to the Conference Finals.
At this stage, both teams are playing with house money as realistically they never expected to get this far. San Jose will have all the pressure, though, as they have a pedigree of contending while Vegas can continue their fairytale season.
Either way, this matchup is an intriguing one!
Should Anaheim retool this offseason or stay with what they have? Let us know in the comments section below.