Ducks can clinch Pacific Division tonight vs. San Jose

Anaheim has a shot to clinch top spot in the Pacific Division and remain in the hunt for the Presidents’ Trophy with a win over in-state rival San Jose tonight.

The Ducks head into Wednesday’s action on 110 points, three up on the Sharks and four back of Boston for first overall in the NHL. With the win, Anaheim can also overtake idle St. Louis for top spot in the Western Conference.

But for tonight, the Pacific Division is the goal.

Clinching top spot would give Anaheim a number of things — home-ice advantage in at least the first two rounds, for example — and would also keep the Ducks from having to face Los Angeles in the opening round. The Kings are locked into the No. 3 seed in the Pacific and, aas far as opening-round opponents go, they don’t come much tougher as L.A. won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and made it to the Western Conference finals a year ago, dispatching of the Sharks along the way.

Speaking of the Sharks, they’ll be looking for a win to keep their Pacific Division title chances alive, and should have confidence heading into the Honda Center. San Jose has won three of its four previous games against the Ducks this year, including a 3-2 victory on Mar. 20, and will get a Ducks team playing its third game in four nights in three cities.

Should San Jose win in regulation tonight, it would set up a fairly exciting final stretch for both clubs. There’d be just one point separating the two with each team having a pair of games remaining: Anaheim closes against the Kings and Avs, while the Sharks finish against the Avs and Coyotes.

For more on the Ducks-Sharks matchup and why both teams would probably like to avoid the Kings in Round 1, check out our most recent PHT Extra:

Scroll Down For:

    Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium

    Leave a comment

    The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.

    Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.

    Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.

    The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)

    Here are the full rosters:


    NBCSN will broadcast the alumni game nationally in the United States, while Sportsnet and TVA Sports will have it in Canada.

    The 2016 Winter Classic will be played the next day (on NBC).

    Goalie nods: Andersen’s ‘flu-like symptoms’ mean Khudobin starts versus Flames

    Anton Khudobin, Frederik Andersen
    Leave a comment

    With Frederik Andersen experiencing “flu-like symptoms” (PHT diagnosis: it might be the flu), the Anaheim Ducks will turn to backup Anton Khudobin for tonight’s home game versus Calgary.

    Khudobin could, in turn, be backed up by Josh Gibson, recalled today from AHL San Diego. The Ducks have officially listed Andersen as “questionable.”

    Khudobin (3-3-0, .917) has not started a game in over a week. His last action came exactly a week ago, after Andersen got the hook versus Nashville.

    Andersen may or may not travel with the Ducks for tomorrow’s game at Arizona.

    The Ducks, of course, are coming off a 5-0 loss to Tampa Bay, a result that produced the following quote from Ryan Kesler:

    After a four-game winning streak to start November, Anaheim has since dropped five of its last seven.

    Karri Ramo will be in net for the Flames. After a terrible start to the season, he’s been much better lately, allowing just eight goals combined in his last four starts.


    Craig Anderson for the Senators. Antti Niemi for the Stars.

    Torts: Jackets still need more ‘bite’

    John Tortorella

    The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.

    The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.

    Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.

    “A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”

    The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.


    — The Canucks need ‘more bite’

    The Rangers are better when they have ‘more bite’

    Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer


    The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.

    Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.

    The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.

    According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.

    “He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”

    In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.

    Related: Where’s the depth in San Jose?