Even most Ducks fans I know picked the Sharks to win this series. Perhaps some of them are reconsidering at this point. The Sharks were completely dominant (32-5-4) at home this season, but the Ducks shut them out in game 1 and won game 2, too. The Sharks have only scored 2 goals against the Ducks in two games and have gone 0-12 in the power play. The Ducks’ regular season penalty kill wasn’t that great (23rd in the NHL) and the Sharks’ power play was ranked 3rd, but the Ducks have figured out how to stop the Sharks on the power play.
Hiller has been absolutely amazing for the Ducks. He stopped 35 shots in game 1 and 42 shots in game 2. He has definitely been their number one star. Perhaps he wants to prove everyone who doubted that he has what it takes to lead a team in the playoffs wrong. He was in the top 5 for save percentage most of the season (just dropping out of the top 5 at the very end of the season, but remaining in 6th place) and is clearly capable of handling the pressure of the playoffs and being peppered with shots in the visiting team's arena.
The Ducks had more penalties in both games against the Sharks, which isn’t surprising given their history, but they managed to get away with killing all 6 of the Sharks’ power plays.
Anaheim shot the puck a lot more in game 2 (26 shots in game 2 compared to 17 in game 1), but so did the Sharks (44 shots in game 2, 35 in game 1). The Ducks blocked 21 shots, too. Clearly, Randy Carlyle will want his team to shoot more and prevent the Sharks from shooting quite as much when they return home to face the Sharks in game 3 on Tuesday. He’ll also want the team to take fewer penalties (he’s been working on that forever), but the Ducks are winning and you can’t really argue with that.
If you missed the game for some reason tonight, look online to watch the goals – some of them were really great, particularly Bobby Ryan’s dive for his own rebound on the first goal for the Ducks.
The question will be how the Ducks will do when they get home. The Ducks actually lost more games in the regular season at home than they won (20-18-3). Since three of the losses were in OT, many would claim the Ducks were above 500 at home in the regular season. That can be argued either way, but the fact is they lost 21 games at home (one way or another) this season and won 20. With their road record being better than that (22-15-4), perhaps Carlyle will consider having everyone stay in a hotel and away from everyone they know if the Ducks don’t come out playing the way he’d like in game 3. Maybe just the threat of having to stay at a hotel while at home will be enough to get the Ducks to play hard from the start in game 3. We’ll find out Tuesday night.