Established in 1991, the San Jose Sharks have cultivated several notable rivalries over the years, making for exciting and competitive hockey matchups.
With geographic proximity and divisional standings playing significant roles, it’s not surprising that some of their most heated rivalries have been against fellow teams in the Pacific Division.
The Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks have a rivalry that can be traced back to the 2009 Ducks team, led by goalie Jonas Hiller, which stymied San Jose’s Presidents Cup hopes after capturing the No. 1 overall seed in the NHL Playoffs.
Additionally, the Vancouver Canucks are another West Coast rival largely due to the tension created through divisional competition.
With the introduction of the Seattle Kraken, another potential rivalry could be brewing in the Pacific Northwest.
The Kraken and the Sharks have yet to establish a deep-rooted history since the Kraken’s inception in 2021, but the general disdain for Bay Area teams in Seattle sports rivalries could set the stage for some fierce competition between the two clubs.
- Early Rivalries
- Battle of California
- Emerging Rivalries
- Rivalry Highlights and Memorable Moments
- Factors Contributing to Rivalries
- The Future of Sharks Rivalries
Los Angeles Kings
One of the San Jose Sharks’ earliest and most notable rivals has been the Los Angeles Kings. The two teams have played in the same division ever since the Sharks began their play in the 1991-92 season, creating many opportunities for rivalries to form at various points throughout history.
These teams clashed from the very start, with the high point of their rivalry taking place in the mid-1990s, when the Sharks defeated the Wayne Gretzky era Los Angeles Kings 4-0 on April 28, 1995, setting the stage for a long-standing rivalry between these two California-based hockey teams.
Detroit Red Wings
Another early rivalry for the San Jose Sharks was with the Detroit Red Wings, particularly when Detroit was part of the Western Conference. This rivalry gained significance as both teams were consistently strong and playoff-bound in the late 1990s and early 2000s, heightening the stakes of their matchups.
The San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings have met multiple times in the playoffs, often creating dramatic and memorable matchups between these talented teams.
Battle of California
In this section, we will discuss two notable rivalries with fellow California-based teams, the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings.
The rivalry with the Anaheim Ducks has been fierce since they joined the NHL in 1993. Both teams compete in the Pacific Division, making their regular-season matchups critical for their playoff prospects.
The close geographical proximity of the two teams adds extra intensity to this rivalry, as fan bases often collide during games.
Historically, the Sharks and the Ducks have had a number of memorable matchups, including several heated playoff series. As these teams continue to evolve, their rivalry remains a key fixture in the Battle of California.
Los Angeles Kings Revisited
The Los Angeles Kings have been a significant rival for the San Jose Sharks since the Sharks’ inception in 1991.’ According to Bleacher Report, the intensity of the rivalry stems from the fact that the two teams have been part of the same division for so long.
The rivalry has only intensified over time as both teams have experienced success, frequently meeting in the playoffs. These postseason battles have fueled the animosity between the two clubs, with each series featuring hard-fought, physical contests.
In conclusion, the Battle of California is an essential aspect of the San Jose Sharks’ rivalries, with the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings being key adversaries. The close geographical locations of these teams ensure that the rivalries will remain compelling fixtures in the NHL’s Pacific Division.
Vegas Golden Knights
The San Jose Sharks have experienced a growing rivalry with the Vegas Golden Knights. Since the Golden Knights joined the NHL in 2017, they have faced the Sharks in multiple intense playoff series, fueling the competition between these Pacific Division teams.
One notable moment in their rivalry occurred during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the Sharks made a remarkable comeback after being down 3-1 in the series. This event left a lasting impression on both teams and their fans, adding fuel to the competitive fire.
As the Golden Knights continue to establish themselves in the league, it is expected that the rivalry with the San Jose Sharks will only intensify, leading to more thrilling matchups in the future.
The Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks share a rivalry that has the potential to grow in the years to come. Geographical proximity and divisional matchups contribute to the tension between these two teams.
Throughout their history, the Sharks and Oilers have competed in numerous high-stakes battles, such as their faceoff during the 2017 playoffs. There, the young and talented Oilers upset the more experienced Sharks in a hard-fought first-round series.
With the ongoing development of both teams and the evolving landscape of the Pacific Division, notably the upcoming Seattle Kraken, it will be no surprise to witness even more intense clashes between the Sharks and Oilers in the future.
Rivalry Highlights and Memorable Moments
One of the main rivalries of the San Jose Sharks is against the Anaheim Ducks. This rivalry stemmed from the 2009 Ducks team, led by Jonas Hiller, which spoiled the Presidents Cup for the Sharks. Additionally, San Jose and the Vegas Golden Knights have a heated rivalry, with their contentious 2019 playoffs series including a memorable Game 7 where a controversial penalty call helped San Jose stage a major comeback.
In the regular season, one iconic moment took place when the Sharks faced the Detroit Red Wings. They won a thrilling 6-5 game, with Patrick Marleau scoring the game winner in the third period.
Some other memorable showdowns between the Sharks and their rivals include:
- 2013 NHL playoffs: San Jose swept Vancouver Canucks in the first round.
- 2016 Western Conference Finals: Sharks defeated the St. Louis Blues to advance to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final.
The clashes between the Sharks and Golden Knights have fueled the ongoing rivalry between the two teams. Both fanbases strongly dislike each other due to the 13 playoff games they have faced off in during the first two seasons of the Vegas franchise.
Factors Contributing to Rivalries
One of the driving forces behind the intensity of the San Jose Sharks’ rivalries is the history of playoff battles against other teams. Notable rivalries include matches against the Vegas Golden Knights and the 2009 Anaheim Ducks. These intense competitions have shaped the Shark’s rivalries and created memories for fans to look back on.
In one example, the Sharks’ dramatic come-from-behind Game 7 win against the Vegas Golden Knights created an undeniable tension between the two teams. This rivalry was further fueled by a controversial major penalty call against Vegas in the same game, which helped the Sharks make their comeback.
Moreover, the Sharks faced the Anaheim Ducks in 2009, with the Ducks spoiling the Presidents Cup for San Jose. These playoff battles have created lasting impacts on the teams involved and contributed greatly to their rivalries.
Another contributing factor to the San Jose Sharks rivalries is the geographical proximity of their opponents. Teams such as the Vancouver Canucks and the Los Angeles Kings share the same conference with the Sharks and are located relatively close to San Jose, intensifying the rivalry between these clubs.
For example, the Sharks and Canucks had a series of nine straight game wins, including playoffs, before Vancouver finally ended the slump in one intense match. This proximity creates frequent matchups and increases the stakes for each game, as having a ‘local’ rival adds another dimension to the competition.
Due to these factors, the San Jose Sharks continue to have strong rivalries with a select few teams in the NHL. These intense matchups, fueled by playoff battles and geographical proximity, create a competitive atmosphere that excites both players and fans alike.
The Future of Sharks Rivalries
As the landscape of the NHL continues to change, so do the rivalries involving the San Jose Sharks. With the recent addition of the Seattle Kraken to the Pacific Division in 2021-22, there arises a new opportunity for rivalries to form or intensify.
While the Sharks have had historical rivalries with teams like the Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, and Anaheim Ducks, their more recent and intense rivalries have been against fellow California teams, such as the Los Angeles Kings. This can be attributed to the frequency of their playoff meetings, divisional alignment, and geographic proximity.
Factors that may influence the development of future rivalries include:
- Geography – The closer the teams are geographically, the higher the chance for a rivalry to form due to the proximity of their fan bases.
- Divisional alignment – As teams within the same division play each other more frequently, there is increased opportunity for rivalries to form or intensify.
- Playoff feuds – A series of intense and closely contested playoff meetings can quickly transform a regular matchup into a heated rivalry.
By considering the potential factors mentioned above, the San Jose Sharks are likely to develop new rivalries or intensify existing ones with teams such as the Seattle Kraken, and potentially see a resurgence of past rivalries with teams like the Vancouver Canucks, depending on future divisional and playoff scenarios.