Sharks stifle Ducks in regulation, take Pacific lead

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The San Jose Sharks have been trending upward while the Anaheim Ducks are going in the wrong direction in the Pacific Division title race, and that continued on Thursday.

The Sharks outplayed the Ducks in the third period tonight to squeeze out a 3-2 win in regulation, taking the division lead for at least one night. San Jose has two more standings point but Anaheim holds a game in hand and tiebreaker advantages.

If you weigh the box scores heavily, it seems like the right team won. San Jose generated a 28-18 shot disparity, holding the Ducks to four shots in the opening period and five in the closing frame.

The bigger trends tend to lean the Sharks’ way, too, as they’ve gone 8-1-1 in their last 10 games while Anaheim is slipping in a similar set (4-4-2).

Does that mean the Sharks will take the division crown? Not necessarily; if the two teams’ paths show anything – let alone the NHL playoff races overall – it’s that momentum can shift swiftly. Right now things are clearly going San Jose’s way, though.