San Jose finds themselves four and five points behind their respective SoCal rivals as they look to improve their position for the postseason.
With another week of hockey in the books, the Pacific Division sees a new team at the top. The San Jose Sharks are still keeping an eye on the race for first, but they need to put together a solid run to conclude the season in order to catch their Southern California rivals.
As things stand now, San Jose trails the Anaheim Ducks by five points and the Los Angeles Kings by four points after picking up their 36th victory of the year last night. The problem for team teal is that neither one of the Ducks or Kings appear to be slowing down at the moment.
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It should set up a fascinating final 17 games of the season as the three teams jockey for position and see who will draw each other in the opening round of playoff action.
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Stock Up: Anaheim is playing simply unbelievable hockey at the moment. Despite their shootout loss to the Capitals last night which snapped an 11-game win streak, the Ducks extended their point streak to 14 games and showed they can play with the best in the NHL. Their 3-2 victory over the Kings at Staples Center on Saturday was must-see hockey.
Nobody wants to play Anaheim at the moment, and the Sharks would do well to try everything in their power to avoid the Ducks in the first round.
Meanwhile, San Jose and Los Angeles have matched one another over the last 10 games or so as the two teams are vying for home ice at the moment. The Kings are relying upon defense to get it done as they’re tied for the lead league with 2.26 goals against per game.
Stock Down: This spot is reserved for the rest of the division as the Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes are trailing San Jose by 16 points for the final playoff spot in the Pacific. Vancouver has dropped four of their last five, including two in a five-day span to the Sharks at home.
Arizona has been in an even greater free fall as they’ve dropped eight of their last nine contests behind the league’s worst defense.
Finally, the race is on in Alberta to see which team will finish in the cellar of the Pacific as the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames are tied with 59 points, although Calgary does have two games in hand. After dropping 10 of 11 games, the Oilers have played some decent hockey by winning four of five as they look to finish ahead of the rival Flames.
San Jose has an opportunity to grab another two points tonight with both the Ducks and Kings idle as they wrap up their back-to-back in Alberta with a matchup against the Oilers. Hopefully the Sharks will have more of the puck tonight and not have to rely on a tremendous performance from their netminder to steal two points.