Right now the Sharks stand pat at the Number 2 seed in the western conference holding a 1 point lead after a blowout loss to Anaheim and a shutout loss for Detroit. There is no doubt that most of you are upset at tonight's loss to Anaheim, and we should be for a myriad of reasons. I will not go into any of those reasons here because Jason and Matt will no doubt do a much better job anyway. However, what I am willing to discuss is our postseason.
For those of you unfamiliar with playoff scenarios, the Sharks clinched the Pacific Division on monday which means that we cannot enter the playoffs with a seed any lower than 3rd. Also Vancouver clinched the presidents trophy what seems like forever ago so there is no way the Sharks could enter the playoffs any higher than 2nd. For the past few days, if the Sharks had to enter the playoffs as the second or third seed I would honestly rather have the third seed; and here is why:
The way that the western conference has been totally log-jammed has led to a lot of desperate play by some of the fringe teams. Teams like Los Angeles or Phoenix have been in the middle of the standings playing some mediocre hockey and Detroit is playing its worst hockey of the year. However, teams that have been flirting with the 7th and 8th seed like Chicago, Calgary, Anaheim have been fighting hard and not doing too poorly doing so. Calgary is on a three game win streak. Chicago came back from a two goal deficit to win tonight. And Anaheim has won 8 of its last 11 sans Jonas Hiller and just spanked us tonight.
History has shown that the bottom seed teams are not to be taken lightly. The two teams that take the 7th and 8th seed this year will be dangerous because of how hard they will have fought to get there. They will be riding emotional highs and copious momentum into the playoffs. Two years ago, the Ducks went on something like a 10 game win streak to steal the 8th seed of the western conference and proceeded to eliminate us in the first round. I didn't mean to open up any old wounds but you see the point I am trying to get across. Vancouver, Detroit, and our Sharks better watch out for those bottom three teams this year. There hasn't been a whole lot separating the third seed from the 8th seed this year (7 points as of tonight, and only 2 points between the 4th and 8th seed!)
The seedings could look completely different in a few days which is why I put the word "might" in the title. All I know is that I would prefer to avoid teams like Anaheim, Chicago, and Calgary in the first round and would MUCH rather play teams like Los Angeles or Phoenix right now. Nashville is also quite scary right now the way they wrapped up the month of March. The seeds are deceiving my friends. There isn't much to separate the wheat from the chaff this year. Just no one go jumping off a bridge if we enter the playoffs as the third seed. Seeds might not mean as much this year as they used to be. It's going to be an exciting playoff for the western conference.
And in case you are curious, regardless of whether or are the 2nd or 3rd seed, the earliest we could play Vancouver is the western conference finals.
So my fellow finatics, which team scares you the most of our potential first round opponents?