San Jose is firmly entrenched in a playoff position, but continues to apply pressure atop the Pacific Division.
With February and the trade deadline now in the rearview mirror, the race for the playoffs has hit the stretch drive. The San Jose Sharks sit comfortably in a postseason spot, 14 points ahead of both the Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes for third place.
However, after sweeping a pair of contests against Canadian foes on back-to-back nights, the Sharks are right on the heels of their Southern California rivals. San Jose is two points back of the scorching-hot Anaheim Ducks, while only four points behind the Los Angeles Kings who maintain their perch atop the division.
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Stock Up: Speaking of the Ducks, they simply steamrolled their way through the month of February racking up a 12-1-1 record as they’ve rebounded from their early season struggles. Corey Perry has been the main catalyst for Anaheim with six goals and six assists during the month, including a hat trick against the Kings on Sunday night.
Los Angeles had been on a nice roll, winning four straight contests until they ran into Anaheim. The Kings are maintaining their position atop the Pacific on the backbone of the league’s best defense at 2.27 goals against per game.
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All three teams made acquisitions before yesterday’s trade deadline in the hopes of securing the top spot in the division so they can avoid each other in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It should be quite the battle over the last 20 games as these teams jockey for position.
Stock Down: In all honesty, you could put the rest of the Pacific Division in this category as all four teams have been in a free fall. Arizona has been absolutely dreadful, dropping six straight including all five games on their recent road trip highlighted by a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Vancouver has lost five of seven contests as they’ve been decimated by injuries this season.
Meanwhile, the two Alberta teams haven’t been able to find any sort of traction all season long. The Calgary Flames are a mess defensively, dropping five consecutive games and eight of their past nine. They traded away pending free agents in Jiri Hudler and Kris Russell as they weren’t able to build off their playoff run of a season ago.
Finally, the Edmonton Oilers are well the Edmonton Oilers as they mired in last place in the Pacific once again. Edmonton was able to snap a seven-game losing streak on Sunday, but they have dropped 10 of their last 12 contests.
The Sharks will enjoy a couple days off before taking on the Canucks in a home-and-home series as the two teams meet for the third time in a week.