How The San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and Phoenix Coyotes Can Clinch A Playoff Spot

Joe Thornton hustling to the finish line.

With last night’s victory over the Dallas Stars putting the Sharks 3 points ahead of the nine seed with two games left to play, it’s safe to say that things are looking good for San Jose in regards to clinching their eighth straight playoff berth.

As we mentioned yesterday, Dallas plays Nashville and St. Louis in their final two games-- their current predicament is dire, as those two teams are still fighting for home-ice advantage and the number one seed in the West respectively. Colorado is in a worst position, with a max of 92 points being the most they can acquire down the stretch.

San Jose, Los Angeles, and Phoenix are in the driver's seat right now to earn the three playoff spots that remain up for grabs.

Heading into tonight’s action, here is an updated list of all the scenarios that would lead to the Sharks, Kings, and Coyotes clinching.

Colorado is eliminated if:

  • They do not win both of their games in regulation or overtime. San Jose holds the head to head tiebreaker against the Avalanche, meaning that Colorado must win both games in regulation or overtime to defeat San Jose via the ROW tiebreaker.
  • San Jose earns one point in their next two games. The maximum amount of points Colorado can earn is 92. One point for San Jose pushes them to 93, ending Colorado's season.

San Jose will clinch if Colorado is eliminated AND:

  • The Sharks earn at least two points in their next two games in any fashion. The maximum amount of points Dallas can earn is 93. If San Jose can earn two more points in any fashion (two OT/SO losses, a win of any kind), they would finish with 94 points and secure a playoff appearance.
  • The Stars drop at least two points in their next two games in any fashion. This follows the same scenario as above. The maximum amount of points Dallas can earn is 93-- leave two points on the table and they are eliminated.
  • San Jose earns one point and Dallas loses one point in any fashion. Again, same scenario. Dallas has a max of 93 points-- if they finish with 92, and San Jose earns a point to finish with 93, the Sharks would clinch.

Los Angeles will clinch if:

  • Dallas drops at least one point in any fashion. The Stars have a max of 93 points and the Kings currently have 93 points.
  • Los Angeles earns at least one point in any fashion. Same situation as above.

Phoenix will clinch if:

  • Dallas drops at least one point in any fashion. The Stars have a max of 93 points and the Coyotes currently have 93 points.
  • Phoenix earns at least one point in any fashion. Same situation as above.

There's a ton of scenarios as to how these teams could finish in terms of playoff seeding, and the water gets kind of muddy depending on tiebreakers like ROW, head to head matchups, and goal differential.

What you basically need to know is this:

  • If San Jose makes the playoffs they will finish in either the 3rd, 7th, or 8th seed.
  • If San Jose makes the playoffs they will play either the St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks, or Detroit Red Wings.
  • San Jose could win out in regulation and still end up in the 7th seed if Phoenix wins out as well.
  • A lot depends on how they do against Los Angeles on Thursday and Saturday.

What a run to the finish line this is going to be.

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