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: