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BoC Gameday—Parallel paths collide tonight

Anaheim Ducks (25-3-6, 1st in west) at San Jose Sharks (23-10-0, 2nd in west)

Sorry, this preview’s gotta be rushed. Instead of watching the #1 and #2 western teams duke it out tonight, I am going to be performing in a Christmas concert that starts right at game time, so my viewing will be courtesy of late night Tivo. Any way, this blog was started during last year’s playoffs, and one of my first posts took a look at the similar self-improvement patterns that the Ducks and Sharks used to leapfrog into the playoffs. If you recall last year,
  • Anaheim had an 8-game stretch without a win November 3-20.
  • San Jose had a 10-game stretch without a win November 5-30.
In fact, one year ago today, both teams sat in the 10th and 11th spots in the west, but had already begun transforming themselves from also-rans to the world-beaters we enjoy today. The chart below shows the parallel paths each team has taken in accumulating standings points since the lockout.

The Ducks are in red, the Sharks are in blue, and I have included a dashed line that is a straight-line approximation of an 8th-seeded team (95 points) for reference. Note that before this month, the furthest the Ducks and Sharks have been separated in the standings has been 7 points.

And, just for measure, here are the last 82 regular-season games for each franchise. Even these records are within 7 points of each other:

ANA: 53-17-12, 118 points, .720 win%, 277 GF, 207 GA, PP 21.2% (96/452), PK 84.9% (69/456)
SJS: 52-23-7, 111 points, .677 win%, 264 GF, 203 GA, PP 21.0% (99/471), PK 82.5% (66/378)

And once again tonight, these parallel teams shall battle again.

Prediction: Ducks 5, Sharks 4. Parallel patterns persist, but the better Thornton pots the winner.