Sharks

Sharks

The Sharks can’t be too upset about their eight-game winning streak ending with a loss in overtime Tuesday night in St. Louis. A win over the Blues would have been the preferred outcome, of course, but picking up a point against a team fighting for their playoff lives on the second night of a back-to-back is a solid result. 

Tuesday night’s overtime defeat, as well as the win against Chicago on Monday, ensured a solid start to a road trip that becomes much more difficult as it continues with a game against the President’s Trophy-leading Nashville Predators, and the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights. For those keeping score at home, that means two games against the West’s best and third-best team in a three-day span. 

Three points out of four against Chicago and St. Louis, then, become much more important as San Jose tries to lock up a playoff spot, as well as home ice in the first round. There’s wiggle room in case of a blunder on Broadway and/or any slips on the Strip, which is especially important because of the teams chasing them.

Vegas Golden Knights (103 points, First in the Pacific) 

Games Remaining: Six

On the Docket: 3/26 vs Colorado (W), 3/28 vs Arizona, 3/30 vs St. Louis, 3/31 vs San Jose

Outlook: A day after clinching their first-ever playoff berth, the Golden Knights inched closer to their first-ever division title thanks to the Sharks’ loss. But, the bigger honor is that they make their first appearance in our weekly peek at the playoff picture. That may not last long, though, as Vegas now only needs five more points to clinch the Pacific. 

 

San Jose Sharks (98 points, Second in the Pacific) 

Games Remaining: Five

On the Docket: 3/26 at Chicago (SOW), 3/27 at St. Louis (OTL), 3/29 at Nashville, 3/31 at Vegas

Outlook: The Sharks are just two points away from the most under Peter DeBoer, and their first 100-point season since 2013-14. All that stands in the way of hitting the century mark is the most difficult stretch remaining on the schedule, before a three-game homestand to close out the season.

Los Angeles Kings (91 points, Third in the Pacific)

Games Remaining: Five 

On the Docket: 3/26 vs Calgary (W), 3/29 vs Arizona, 3/30 at Anaheim

Outlook: Saturday’s game against the Ducks looms as a potential play-in for a first-round battle of California, but the Kings will overlook the Coyotes at their own peril. Arizona is 8-5-1 since the trade deadline, and giving Los Angeles a deceptively difficult back-to-back as Colorado chases for the final playoff spot. 

St. Louis Blues (91 points, First Wild Card)

Games Remaining: Six

On the Docket: 3/27 vs San Jose (W), 3/30 at Vegas, 3/31 at Arizona

Outlook: The Blues are the league’s Walking (Skating?) Dead. Despite, for the second straight season, a losing streak right around the trade deadline, and losing one of their best players at said deadline, St. Louis is on the verge of a second straight playoff berth. If there’s ever a zombie outbreak, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong and head coach Mike Yeo should be the prime suspects. 

Anaheim Ducks (91 points, Second Wild Card) 

Games Remaining: Five

On the Docket: 3/27 vs Vancouver (L), 3/30 vs Los Angeles, 4/1 vs Colorado 

Outlook: Even with a loss to the lowly Canucks on Tuesday, the Ducks are largely in control of their own destiny, as they play the Kings and Avalanche. Losing both could leave Anaheim on the outside looking in headed into the season’s final week, and ultimately out of the postseason for the first time since 2012. 

Colorado Avalanche (90 points, Ninth in the West)

Games Remaining: Six

On the Docket: 3/28 vs Philadelphia, 3/30 vs Chicago, 4/1 at Anaheim

Outlook: With a game in hand on the Kings, the Fightin’ MacKinnons have some semblance of control in the playoff race. Colorado’s two-game homestand this week is vital to stay in contention, as Sunday marks the start of a three-game swing through California. 

Dallas Stars (86 points, 10th in the West)

Games Remaining: Five

On the Docket: 3/27 vs Philadelphia (W), 3/29 at Minnesota, 3/31 vs Minnesota

Outlook: The Stars finally broke out of their tailspin on Tuesday, snapping an eight-game losing streak with an overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers. But even with the win, they’ll pretty much need to win out in order to have a chance to make the playoffs, let alone actually qualify.