On the eve of Game 1 between the Ducks and Sharks, Anaheim's goaltending tandem is all but set. John Gibson, who missed the last three games of the regular season with an upper-body injury, took part in another full practice with the team and appears ready for action tomorrow night in the series opener.
Gibson and Ryan Miller were among the players who got in one final practice session before the fun really begins. Reto Berra, who backed up Miller when Gibson was out, was reassigned to San Diego of the AHL.
On Monday, Gibson didn't need many words to confirm his status. He's ready to go. "It was good," he said. "Nice to be back. I feel good."
Whether it's the Stanley Cup logos underneath the ice or the rally towels adorning each seat inside Honda Center, to be playing at this time of the year is a special thing. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who is making his 11th appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his 13 NHL seasons, shares those feelings. "This is the best time of the year to be playing," he said to reporters today. "We worked a lot through the second half of the season to get where we wanted to be now."
Getzlaf ranks first in franchise history in postseason appearances (121), points (118), goals (37) and assists (81), co-leads in power-play goals (15) with Teemu Selanne and ranks third in game-winning goals (6). He had 19 points (8g/11a) in 17 postseason games last year, setting a playoff career high in goals, while his 19 points were the second-most in a single postseason by a Ducks player, just one point shy of tying the club record he set in 2015.
With everything the Ducks had to overcome throughout the season to get here (second place in the Pacific), Getzlaf says he and his teammates are not taking anything for granted. "It definitely makes you feel like you earned it," he said. "Up and down our lineup, everyone has contributed at some point throughout the season. That's big for your group going in."
More on Ducks-Sharks/First Round
This is the eighth time in NHL history that two California teams will meet in the postseason, last occurring in the 2016 playoffs when LA faced San Jose in the opening round. Anaheim has faced a California team twice, beating San Jose in the Conference Quarterfinals in 2009 and falling to LA in the 2014 Second Round.
In the 2009 series between Anaheim and San Jose, the Ducks won the series in six games. Three current Ducks and three active Sharks appeared in the series, with Getzlaf leading all Anaheim skaters in assists (6) and points (8). Corey Perry also registered four points (3g/1a) in the series while Francois Beauchemin recorded one goal. San Jose's Joe Thornton led the Sharks in assists (4) and points (5), while Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each registered one assist in the six games.
During the 2017-18 regular season, three of the four games between the two clubs went into a shootout (Ducks went 1-1-2 overall). Rickard Rakell led all Ducks skaters with five points (2g/3a) in four games.
The Ducks enter the First Round with an all-time playoff record of 89-69 in 158 total games (51-32 at Honda Center, 38-37 on the road) and are 16-12 all-time in a playoff series. In the First Round, the Ducks are 42-31, moving on into the Second Round eight times in the club's 13 appearances.
Game 1 at Honda Center
Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. PDT (Prime Ticket/KSPN 710AM)
Game 2 at Honda Center
Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. PDT (Prime Ticket/KSPN 710AM)
Game 3 at SAP Center
Monday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. PDT (Prime Ticket/AM 830)
Game 4 at SAP Center
Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. PDT (Prime Ticket/KSPN 710AM)
Game 5* at Honda Center
Friday, April 20 (time TBD) (TV: TBD, Radio: TBD)
Game 6* at SAP Center
Sunday, April 22 (time TBD) (TV: Prime Ticket/AM830)
Game 7* at Honda Center
Tuesday, April 24 (time TBD) (TV: TBD, Radio: TBD)