We have our second sweep of the 2017-18 NHL postseason, as the San Jose Sharks defeated the higher-seeded Anaheim Ducks in four games to advance to the Stanley Cup semifinals.
How did these San Jose Sharks finish in third place in the Pacific Division, again?
Sure, the Vegas Golden Knights have been an unstoppable force this season, and the Anaheim Ducks’ defense carried them through the regular season, where they finished with the third-least goals against in the league (209).
But in the playoffs, the slate gets wiped clean, and the Sharks were ready. They benefited from the spectacular play of goaltender Martin Jones, who posted an insane .970 save percentage through the four games.
Here’s what the Stanley Cup bracket looks like now that the Sharks will join the Golden Knights as the two teams to have punched their tickets to the second round:
The Sharks and Golden Knights’ matchup in the second round will be the equivalent of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. Part of the reason these two teams will be so compelling to watch — and why they match up so well — is that they’re so similar.
Both are the only ones who will enter the second round with eight points, having swept both their first-round series. But while the Golden Knights defeated the Kings by playing them close and holding them off, the Sharks played ferociously against the Ducks, posting 16 goals for, tied with the Nashville Predators as the second-most in the postseason.
And for all that scoring, the Sharks only allowed four goals. This series could very well come down to which goaltender is able to outlast the onslaught, Jones or Marc-Andre Fleury.