Revisiting Ducks’ 1st-Round Upset of Sharks in 2009

As Anaheim Ducks followers begrudgingly know, the crew currently has discovered itself at residence in April as an alternative of competing for the Stanley Cup. However, from 2003-2018, they have been springtime hockey regulars. With 12 postseason berths in these 15 seasons, they reached at the least the second spherical seven instances, together with 5 Western Conference Final appearances and two Stanley Cup Final appearances. They had some fairly memorable battles in these 15 years. In the spirit of first-round upsets in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, let’s reminisce a few significantly thrilling sequence in Ducks playoff historical past: their sequence win in 2009 over the top-seeded San Jose Sharks.

A Tale of the Tape

The Sharks entered the 2008-2009 season with a loaded roster after a string of untimely playoff exits. Among the roster have been hockey legends and future Hall of Famers Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Rob Blake, to not point out studs Dan Boyle and Jonathan Cheechoo. They received the President’s Trophy because the league’s finest crew, recording a franchise-high 53 wins and 117 factors.

Conversely, the Ducks wanted 81 of a doable 82 video games to qualify for the playoffs. Following regime adjustments and vital commerce deadline exercise, the Ducks went on a scorching streak to finish the season, going 11-5-2 in March and April to squeak into the postseason because the eighth seed. That scorching streak, plus a roster that also included Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry – key members of their 2007 championship squad – gave the battle-tested Ducks all the arrogance heading into the postseason.

The groups had by no means met in the playoffs, and it was the primary playoff sequence between California groups since 1969 when the Los Angeles Kings confronted off in opposition to the Oakland Seals. This sequence had all of the makings of a basic. It had elite gamers. It had legends versus the following technology. It had a really David vs. Goliath really feel to it with the one versus the eighth seed. It had a rivalry. You title it.

Ducks Surprise by Taking First Two Games in San Jose

Success in the playoffs is dependent upon so many components. Among them are who’s coming into the sequence more healthy and with better momentum. Sometimes it comes all the way down to who has the higher gamers. Or, it’s none of these, and as an alternative, which crew will get out in entrance from the start. Well, that was the Ducks in this sequence. In entrance of a notoriously loud and ruckus HP Pavilion, Getzlaf, Niedermayer, and firm jumped on the Sharks from the opening puck drop and by no means actually allowed the Sharks to catch up. Stealing street video games in opposition to a crew as dominant at residence because the Sharks have been was big.

Jonas Hiller was Phenomenal

While the Ducks’ star gamers performed accordingly, Hiller likewise dealt with enterprise in web. The Swiss netminder was MVP of the sequence, and the first cause they by no means relinquished the momentum from the 2 series-opening street wins I spoke of. Hiller produced two shutouts and one other one-goal efficiency for the eighth-seeded Ducks. He posted a .957 save share in six video games, surrendering 10 objectives complete. He had two 30-save and two 40-save performances in their victories and by no means appeared shaky or unprepared for the second. It was particular to see him stump such an offensively gifted crew, and his efficiency in this sequence measured as much as different dominant playoff rounds by Ducks goaltenders, together with Jean-Sébastien Giguère and Ilya Bryzgalov.

Ducks Star Players Were Better Than Sharks Star Players

When the playoffs roll round, so do the cliches. You want 4 traces to win. You want contributions out of your depth. Only an entire, 60-minute effort will get the job finished. Well, how about your finest gamers should be higher than their finest gamers? Six Ducks registered 4 or extra factors. Getzlaf led the best way with eight. Niedermayer was second with 5. Perry had a number of objectives, and Chris Pronger registered 4 factors whereas taking part in virtually 25 minutes a recreation. It can be Pronger’s final postseason in a Ducks uniform, as he was traded in the low season. Niedermayer would play yet one more season in Anaheim earlier than retiring.

Related: 5 Teams Ducks Fans Should Cheer on in the 2023 Playoffs

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On the Sharks’ aspect of issues, their star gamers did not match. Only three Sharks registered 4 or extra factors. Joe Thornton led the best way for them, however they only didn’t get sufficient from guys like Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Clowe, Cheechoo, and Evgeni Nabokov, who was badly outplayed by his counterpart for many of the sequence.

Top Moment: That Getzlaf-Thornton Fight…

How are you able to not love this battle? After 5 video games of fierce competitors, and with the Sharks on the brink, these two facilities went at it proper off the opening draw for an intense tilt that obtained Honda Center completely buzzing proper from the soar.

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Thornton, an offensive wizard in his prime and one of the very best passers ever, did have a behavior of pestering younger gamers. He would get into it with a range of younger stars through the years, together with Jamie Benn, Drew Doughty, and others. Sure, he might have gotten the very best of the 23-year-old Getzlaf in this change, which finally was extra of a swing-and-miss tussle, however Getzlaf outplayed him in the sequence, going plus-5 with eight factors to Thornton’s minus-3 and 5 factors.

Series was an Upset to Remember

No stranger to dismantling Stanley Cup contenders in the primary spherical (ahem, 2003 Detroit Red Wings), Anaheim delivered its most exhilarating sequence win since their Stanley Cup championship two seasons prior. This simply ranks as one of their greatest postseason wins in franchise historical past. While the Ducks would finally fall in the following spherical to the Red Wings in a back-and-forth seven-game sequence, their win over the Sharks was an sudden but enjoyable model of hockey that will set the usual for a sustained run of playoff appearances over the course of the following decade. Knocking off a Presidents’ Trophy winner in the primary spherical is all the time notable, and their 26-point differential in the standings is one of the bigger upsets in NHL playoff historical past. Not unhealthy for the boys from Orange County.

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