Despite their win over the Kings last night, it appears the Sharks are too far out to secure division crown.
Following the San Jose Sharks 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings last night, what’s been known for about the past two months is finally official as all three California teams have secured their playoff berths. Now the only thing left to be determined is which team will take home the Pacific Division title and which two will square off against one another when the postseason begins in two weeks.
For San Jose, last night’s win was a big one for their confidence after a string of three-straight losses. That recent skid all but eliminated team teal’s chances of winning the division unless both the Kings and Ducks go in the tank over the final six or seven games.
What the Sharks victory did do was muddy the waters with who their first-round opponent may be. Until recently, it appeared like San Jose was destined for a matchup in Orange County against the Anaheim Ducks.
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However, following their loss in San Jose, the Kings lead atop the division shrunk to just one point as Anaheim is back on their tails. Heading into tonight’s action, Los Angeles occupies the top spot with 95 points (43 regulation wins), while Anaheim is right there with 94 points (39 regulation win), with a game in hand, and San Jose sits in third with 90 points (39 regulation wins).
The Kings have been reeling of late dropping four of their past five games, while the Ducks have turned things around by eeking out victories over the Senators and Oilers. Anaheim begins a four-game home stand tomorrow night against Calgary following their five-game road trip through Canada.
This will be the final four home games for the Ducks before a pivotal matchup against the Kings at Staples Center which will likely decide the division. Sharks fans will want to keep an eye on that contest as their first-round opponent may very well be the loser of that one.
From a Sharks perspective, San Jose wants to get all their pieces healthy once the playoffs commence. They will have to pretty much run the table to even have an opportunity to surpass the Ducks or Kings for home-ice advantage, which, let’s be honest, might not be the biggest of deals for this group which has performed so much better on the road.
Regardless, it’s nice that San Jose knows they’re in the tournament and did so in convincing fashion by downing one of their fiercest rivals. Now, the task is to refine their game and make sure everyone is ready to go come Game One.
It will be an interesting last couple of weeks as the Kings and Ducks jockey for the top spot, leaving the Sharks to wonder which part of Southern California their playoff journey will begin.