1 vs. 8: An eighth seed has beaten a top seed seven times since 1994. The last #8 seed to defeat a #1 was in 2006 when the Edmonton Oilers defeated Detroit Red Wings, 4-2. Other #8 upsets include, Montreal over Boston (2002), San Jose over St. Louis (2000), Pittsburgh over New Jersey (1999), Ottawa over New Jersey (1998), NY Rangers over Quebec (1995) and San Jose over Detroit (1994).
California Rivals: The Ducks and Sharks have identical 41-41-8 records vs. each other since their rivalry began in 1993-94. The Sharks-Ducks rivalry did not take long to get on track in 2008-09 -- they met on opening day (4-1 San Jose win on home ice) in a physical game. Joe Thornton commented after the game: "With Anaheim, we really don't like each other too much. The building was excited and we just wanted to finish our hits."
California Rivals II: It has been 30 years since California-based teams have met in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In 1969, the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Oakland Seals, four games to three, in their Quarter-final series.
Been There, Done That: With the addition of Claude Lemieux (233 playoff games, 4 Stanley Cups), Rob Blake (125, 1), Brad Lukowich (65, 1), Dan Boyle (45, 1) and Travis Moen (36, 1), the Sharks have added 504 games of Stanley Cup playoff experience and eight Stanley Cups to their lineup from a year ago.
Shooting For History: RW Claude Lemieux will attempt to become just the second player in Stanley Cup history and the first NHL player to win Stanley Cup championships with four different teams. Prior to the inception of the NHL in 1917, the Stanley Cup (born in 1893) was competed for by amateur players in Canada. Jack Marshall played for four championship organizations between 1901 and 1914 -- 1901 Winnipeg Victorias, 1902 and 1903 Montreal AAA, 1907 and 1910 Montreal Wanderers and 1914 Toronto Blueshirts. Eight players in addition to Lemieux have won Stanley Cups with three different teams.
Giguere Loves Working Overtime: G J.S. Giguere’s .923 wining percentage in playoff overtime is the best all-time among goaltenders with 10-or-more OT appearances (former Islanders' great Billy Smith ranks second at .762). His 12-1 career OT record includes the NHL's all-time longest overtime shutout sequence -- 197:52 (streak began on Apr. 10/03 vs. Detroit and was snapped on Apr. 27/07 in Game #2 of the Western Conference Semifinal series vs. Vancouver). He went 4-1 in OT in the 2007 playoffs. In 250:47 of career post-season OT play, Giguere has a 0.24 GAA and a .990 save percentage.
Stanley Cup Bench Rookies: Sharks coach Todd McLellan will attempt to become the first rookie coach in 23 years to guide his club to a Stanley Cup. Jean Perron coached the Montreal Canadiens to a title in his rookie season (1985-86). In addition to Perron, two other rookie coaches have won the Stanley Cup since 1967 -- Claude Ruel in 1969 and Al MacNeil in 1971, both with Montreal.
Stay Out Of The Box: The Sharks and Ducks feature two of the League's most potent power-plays -- San Jose ranked third in the League at 24.2% efficiency and Anaheim placed fourth at 23.6%.
Leading After 2: The Ducks had the league’s best winning percentage when leading after two periods this season (.963).
San Jose Sharks
NHL Playoff Appearance: 12th (fifth consecutive)
Stanley Cups: none
Last Playoff Series Win: 2008 (Conference Quarter-Final vs. Calgary)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 9-11
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 57-62
Mar. 4: Acquired LW Travis Moen and D Kent Huskins from Anaheim for G Timo Pielmeier, C Nick Bonino and conditional draft picks.
The Sharks set a franchise-record point total, for the third consecutive season, a new Club mark for wins and captured the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's top regular-season team, going 53-18-11 for 117 points. They charged out of the gate with a 25-3-2 record, surpassing the 1929-30 Boston Bruins for the best start through 30 games in NHL history. They went 20-0-2 in their first 22 games at HP Pavilion and forged a streak of 31 consecutive home games without a regulation loss dating to the 2007-08 season -- the second-longest such streak in NHL history.
Todd McLellan is the fifth rookie head coach in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to lead his club to the NHL's best regular-season record. He joins Mike Milbury (Boston, 1989-90), Terry Crisp (Calgary, 1987-88), Mike Keenan (Philadelphia, 1984-85), Tom Johnson (Boston, 1970-71) and Claude Ruel (Montreal, 1968-69).
C Joe Thornton continued to drive the Sharks’ offense in 2008-09, leading San Jose in scoring with 86 points (25 goals, 61 assists) in 82 games and finishing 11th in the race for the Art Ross Trophy as League scoring leader. The Sharks have posted a 189-82-33 regular-season mark since acquiring Thornton from Boston in a Nov. 30, 2005 trade. Thornton has 388 points (96 goals, 292 assists) in those 304 games.
C Patrick Marleau has played his entire 11-year NHL career with the Sharks and concluded the 2008-09 season holding career franchise records in games (871), goals (276), assists (334), points (610), game-winning goals (53) and power-play goals (85). Marleau has served as team captain since the fourth 10-game segment of the 2003-04 regular season. During his tenure as the Sharks’ leader, they have posted a 224-105-41 record.
The off-season addition of defensemen Dan Boyle and Rob Blake made the 2008-09 Sharks blueline corps the highest scoring in franchise history. San Jose became just the fourth team in league history to boast four defenseman with at least 30 assists (Boyle 41, Blake 35, Christian Ehrhoff 34, Marc-Edouard Vlasic 30). Boyle and Blake ranked 1-2 among Sharks defensemen in scoring with 16-41--57 and 10-35—45, respectively -- the only San Jose blueliner with more points in a single season was Sandis Ozolinsh in 1993-94 (64).
After leading the NHL with 46 victories in 2006-07, G Evgeni Nabokov ranked second this season with 41. Had he not missed extended periods in mid-November and early March due to injury, Nabokov might have challenged Martin Brodeur's NHL-record 48 wins set in 2006-07.
Devin Setoguchi had a breakout sophomore NHL season, ranking second on the Sharks in goals (31), third in points (65), third in shots (246) and tying for the club lead in power-play goals (11).
Oct. 17: Former Flyers standout Jeremy Roenick scored the deciding goal in the shootout as the Sharks recorded a wild 7-6 victory at Philadelphia. San Jose led, 2-1, 3-2, 4-3 and 6-4, but the Flyers responded each time to force overtime.
Dec. 15: The Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit to post a 3-2 shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings, improving to 25-3-2 and surpassing the 1929-30 Boston Bruins for the best start through 30 games in NHL history.
Jan. 17: The Sharks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 6-5 in a classic confrontation between the Western Conference's top-ranked clubs that featured plenty of scoring and several lead changes. The Sharks, whose streak of 31 consecutive regular-season home games without a regulation loss had ended two days earlier against Calgary, won for the 21st time in 24 games at HP Pavilion.
Feb. 10: The Sharks defeated the Boston Bruins, 5-2, in a showdown of the NHL's dominant teams in the season's first half. The Sharks trailed, 2-1, entering the third period but scored three early goals in a 6:16 span against a Bruins team that had gone 26-0-2 when leading after 40 minutes.
Mar. 10: The Sharks snapped a season-high four-game losing streak by jumping out to a big lead, losing it late and rebounding for a 5-4 overtime victory at Minnesota. San Jose led, 3-0, and 4-2, but surrendered a pair of goals to former Sharks star Owen Nolan late in the third period, sending the game to overtime. Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff supplied the overtime heroics, scoring his eighth goal of the season at 3:34.
NHL Playoff Appearance: 7th (fourth consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 1 (2007)
Last Playoff Series Win: 2007 (Stanley Cup Final vs. Ottawa)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 10-5
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 46-33
Feb. 4: Acquired RW Mike Brown from Vancouver for D Nathan McIver.
Feb. 26: Acquired D Ryan Whitney from Pittsburgh for LW Chris Kunitz and LW Eric Tangradi.
Mar. 4: Acquired C Petteri Nokelainen from Boston for D Steve Montador.
Mar. 4: Acquired D James Wisniewski and C Petri Kontiola from Chicago for C Samuel Pahlsson, D Logan Stephenson and a conditional pick in the 2009 Entry Draft.
Mar. 4: Acquired C Erik Christensen from Atlanta for C Eric O'Dell.
The Ducks are peaking at the right time, having sewn up their fourth consecutive trip to the post-season by going 10-2-1 down the stretch. They tied a franchise record with seven consecutive road victories from Mar. 3 to Apr. 4 and have been red-hot on the power play, going 20 for 48 (41.7%) in their last 13 games.
C Ryan Getzlaf set the Ducks' single-season assist record and tied for third in the NHL with 66. He ranked seventh in the League in points with 25-66--91, becoming just the third player in franchise history to reach the 90-point mark. Over the last eight games, the Getzlaf-Bobby Ryan-Corey Perry line combined for 17 goals and 21 assists. Getzlaf had 14 points in that span (2-12--14), followed by Perry (8-5--13) and Ryan (7-4--11).
Scott Niedermayer again ranked among NHL defensemen leaders in several categories, including average ice time per game (third, 26:55), scoring (fourth, 14-45-59) and assists (T-third, 45). Niedermayer notched his 46th goal as a Duck Mar. 8 vs. Minnesota, surpassing Oleg Tverdovsky for the all-time franchise lead in goals by a defenseman.
RW Teemu Selanne became the Ducks' all-time games played leader Jan. 31 at Colorado with his 617th appearance and set the club's all-time assists mark Nov. 7 vs. Dallas (370). He scored his 1,200th career point with an overtime goal Mar. 18 vs. Nashville, becoming the 45th player in NHL history to reach the milestone. The Helsinki, Finland, native is only the sixth player born outside North America to do so.
RW Bobby Ryan set single-season franchise records for goals and points by a rookie, tallying 31-26--57 in 64 games. Ryan led all NHL rookies in goals and points despite joining the Ducks six weeks into the season when he was recalled from the AHL Nov. 15. He is the first NHL rookie to score 30 goals in a season since Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin had 33 in 2006-07.
G Jonas Hiller backstopped the Ducks during their late-season surge. He tied a franchise record by recording a seven-game winning streak from Mar. 19 to Apr. 4, posting a 2.19 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in that span. Hiller finished the season seventh among NHL goaltenders in both goals-against average (2.39) and save percentage (.919).
Oct. 17: After starting the season with four consecutive losses, the Ducks avoided the worst start in franchise history by defeating the San Jose Sharks, 4-0, behind a vintage goaltending performance by Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 38 saves. The Ducks handed the Sharks one of just three regulation losses they suffered in the first 31 games of the season. The victory marked the start of a 9-1-1 Ducks run that put the club among the Western Conference leaders.
Oct. 29: The Ducks kept rolling after a 4-0 Eastern time zone road trip by defeating the Detroit Red Wings, 5-4, in overtime at Honda Center. Ryan Getzlaf assisted on all five Anaheim goals, becoming the first player to assist on each of his team's five goals in a winning effort since Toronto's Doug Gilmour in January, 1997. Teemu Selanne recorded the 21st hat trick of his career and Francois Beauchemin scored at 1:29 of the extra period.
Mar. 11: Defenseman Scott Niedermayer scored an overtime goal with the teams playing three-on-three for the second time in a month, giving the Ducks a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Niedermayer had victimized the Calgary Flames with a three-on-three tally in a 3-2 win at Anaheim Feb. 11. The Ducks captain registered his 12th career regular-season overtime goal, the most among defensemen since overtime was re-instituted in 1983-84.a
Apr. 2: In a game that mirrored the unpredictable and wide-open Western Conference playoff race, the Ducks overcame a pair of two-goal deficits to earn a 7-6 shootout victory at Vancouver. The win was the Ducks' eighth in nine games and moved them to seventh place in the ever-changing Western Conference standings. The club was in 13th place on March 18 before embarking on its late-season run.
Apr. 10: The Ducks clinched a playoff berth for the fourth consecutive year with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars in Anaheim's final home game of the season. Goaltender Jonas Hiller made 42 saves and Teemu Selanne notched the decisive shootout goal for the winners, who also received a huge boost from the return of D Francois Beauchemin. Traditionally among the League leaders in ice time, Beauchemin missed 62 games with a knee injury.