Filed under: Ducks, Sharks, NHL GeneralEvery Thursday, Earl Sleek will conspire with his pen and scanner to bring you another installment of PuckToons. Hopefully you will find these amusing, relevant, well-drawn, or you're a person who is tolerant towards mediocrity.
Just two weeks ago, I was lamenting the poor start of the Anaheim Ducks, who found themselves in a slow-starting boat with the Dallas Stars, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Phoenix Coyotes -- all distantly trailing the hot-starting San Jose Sharks in what traditionally was a tight Pacific Division race.
Two weeks later, the Ducks have certainly improved their position. Even though the Sharks have continued on their 11-2-0 tear, the Ducks have run a 9-1-1 record in their last 11 games to pull within three standings points of the division leading Sharks. While certainly some of this gain has to do with a discrepancy in games-played (the Ducks have played two more games than nearly all other teams, including the Sharks), Anaheim has definitely separated themselves from the bottom three teams in the Pacific, all still struggling at .500 or below.
Time will tell how good this Sharks squad and this Ducks squad will be, but currently they represent two of the top three point totals in the league. The Sharks' start has obviously been more impressive, especially with consecutive wins against last year's Stanley Cup Finalists, but it's nice to see at least one team challenge San Jose for the Pacific crown. The Ducks still have some ground to make up, but their turnaround has been spectacular -- they are the only team thus far that can brag about wins against the 11-2-0 Sharks, the 8-2-2 Red Wings, and the 8-1-1 Canadiens. If Anaheim can continue its improved ascent, it should make for an epic Battle of California in the Pacific Division this year.