The stretch run to the playoffs has started to heat up for the San Jose Sharks as they find themselves in the thick of a tight battle for positioning within the Pacific Division. As it stands now, the Sharks find themselves in third place (63 points) with 28 games remaining in their season following their 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.
Despite their improved play of late, San Jose has been surpassed by the Anaheim Ducks who remain one of the hottest teams in the entire NHL. However, the Sharks do have a game in hand over the Ducks and San Jose has their sights set on their other SoCal rival as the Los Angeles Kings are only six points in front of team teal at the moment.
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Stock Up: Anaheim has surged into second place in the Pacific as the Ducks have gone 8-1-1 over their last 10 games, including a high-scoring 6-4 victory over the Calgary Flames yesterday. The biggest key in the Ducks turn around has been their ability to rediscover their scoring touch as Anaheim has found the back of the net 40 times over their last 10 games.
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San Jose continues to play good hockey going 6-2-2 over their last 10 games, and they continue to be one of the best offenses in the league, ranking fourth with almost three goals per contest.
Stock Down: It’s been quite the downturn in play within the division over the past week as the first-place Kings are hitting one of their few rough patches of the season. Los Angeles has dropped six of their last 10 games as they are in the midst of a seven-game road trip in which they’ve alternated wins and losses.
The Kings strangle-hold on the division lead has certainly lessened as the Sharks and Ducks begin to close the gap.
Arizona continued their free fall following their defeat against San Jose as the Coyotes have dropped six of their past eight games. The upstart desert dogs are beginning to showcase their youth as they haven’t been able to win some keys matchups of late, although they did pick up a nice win last night.
The Coyotes find themselves two points ahead of the Vancouver Canucks who have also hit some hard times as their lineup has been decimated by injuries. The Canucks lost Alexander Edler and Brandon Sutter for an extended period of time and Vancouver has also lost six of their last eight games including a pair of 5-2 losses to the woeful Maple Leafs and struggling Wild.
San Jose looks to continue applying pressure on Los Angeles atop the division and leapfrog Anaheim once again as the Sharks begin a five-game road trip against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight.
This will be the last extended road trip of the season for the Sharks who will be looking to improve upon their stellar road record.