Last Thursday, the San Jose Sharks won a great game against the Anaheim Ducks and it gave them a great chance to win the Pacific Division, and a chance to avoid the Los Angeles Kings, which every Sharks fan feels is necessary.
But after the big win against the Ducks last Thursday, the Sharks have since gone 1-1-2 and picked up four out of a possible eight points in games that they could have easily won. After the shootout losses to Washington and Calgary, they lost the advantage they had over the Ducks and were back to where they were before the Ducks game last Thursday. But after the loss in regulation to Winnipeg last night, the Pacific Division seems to favor the Ducks much more now. Is the Pacific Division still up for grabs?
Yes it is. But it will take a small miracle for the Sharks to win it. The Sharks are two points ahead of the Ducks and the Ducks have three games in hand. What happens in the rest of the season will determine who the Pacific Division champions are. Unfortunately, the Ducks have the upper hand with the remainder of the season.
Let’s take a look at the remaining schedule for the Ducks. Seven of the remaining 10 games for the Ducks are against teams who are not in the playoffs. The remaining three are against tough opponents like the Kings, Sharks, and Avalanche. For the Sharks to win the division, they’ll need to win out and have the Ducks lose three games, and with the last three games being tough opponents, that is very possible. The only problem is that the Sharks have to win out the rest of their season, and that is a tall order looking at their remaining schedule.
Five of the last seven games for the Sharks are against teams in the playoffs. The two games that aren’t are against the Oilers, which should really be no problem (Man the Oilers are in a massive tail spin right now, aren’t they? Never mind I’m getting off topic). The other non-playoff team they face are the Nashville Predators, who the Sharks have lost both games against earlier in the season. The five games against playoff teams include two against the Avalanche, the Kings at home, the Ducks on the road, and the Coyotes. All seven of those games can easily be won by the Sharks, especially since the Sharks play to the level of their opponents. If you think about it logically, which I was not doing on Twitter after the loss last night, the Sharks still have a very good chance of winning the division if you look at the past games this season.
However, there is one main question that hasn’t been asked by anybody who is a Sharks fan. Does winning the Pacific Division even matter?
Say the Sharks win the Pacific Division, and play the Minnesota Wild in the first round and that they win that series. The team they face next is the winner of the Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings series, and because the Kings are playing some of the best hockey in the NHL right now and in my opinion the Ducks are vastly overrated, the Kings should easily win that series, meaning the Sharks would play the Kings in the second round.
In all honesty, with how hot the Kings look right now, playing them in the postseason, whether it’s first round or the second round, is inevitable. That is why winning the Pacific Division is nothing but just another unimportant banner they can hang at SAP Center, but in reality does not matter. In my eyes, the San Jose Sharks are going to face the Los Angeles Kings. Whether it is the first round or the second round is still to be seen, but if the Sharks want to get a chance at the Stanley Cup, they need to beat the Kings.
Thursday’s game at SAP Center against the Kings is the most important game of the year for the Sharks because in my eyes, the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings will face off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.