To say the Sharks' playoff hopes are on life support would be an understatement. They'll need to win all five of their remaining games and get significant help in the form of the Flames, Kings and Jets struggling over the season's final week to even have a chance at the postseason. The one thing going in San Jose's favor is a cake schedule the rest of the way, starting with a back-to-back home-and-home series with the conference-worst, tanking-for-McDavid Arizona Coyotes that begins tonight at SAP Center.
Granted, that would be something going in the Sharks' favor if awful teams hadn't been their kryptonite for the better part of two seasons. San Jose has already lost to the Coyotes at home this season and have lost two games apiece to each of the Sabres, Oilers and Blue Jackets. In order to give themselves a faint hope of extending their playoff appearance streak to 11 seasons, they'll have to accomplish over the next seven days what they haven't done a particularly good job of dating back to last year: beat some bad teams.
Tale Of The Tape
|23-46-8, 54 points
||Record||38-30-9, 85 points|
|7th in Pacific
||Rank||5th in Pacific|
Projected Sharks Lineup
Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Melker Karlsson
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tomas Hertl
Matt Nieto - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels
Barclay Goodrow - Ben Smith - Mike Brown
Brenden Dillon - Justin Braun
Matt Irwin - Brent Burns
Karl Stollery - Taylor Fedun
Projected Coyotes Lineup
Tobias Rieder - Mark Arcobello - Shane Doan
Martin Erat - Sam Gagner - David Moss
Tye McGinn - Joe Vitale - B.J. Crombeen
Jordan Szwarz - Kyle Chipchura - Craig Cunningham
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michael Stone
Klas Dahlbeck - Connor Murphy
Andrew Campbell - John Moore
Joe Pavelski famously called out his teammates when they trailed 2-0 in Arizona after twenty minutes, then scored a hat trick to lead the Sharks to a comeback 4-2 win.
- Karl Stollery, a 27-year-old career minor-league defenseman acquired from Colorado just prior to the trade deadline for Freddie Hamilton, has been recalled and will play tonight in place of the injured Scott Hannan. This will be his eighth NHL game.
- Hannan, of course, was hit in the face by a puck in the late stages of the Sharks' win over the Avalanche on Wednesday. The veteran blueliner was also named the team's Masterton Trophy nominee today for, uh, being old and stuff.
- Speaking of bad players, Mike Brown will return to the Sharks' lineup in place of goal-scoring winger John Scott for the first time since sustaining a leg injury on December 9th. He has played just eight games since signing a 2-year, $2.4 million contract last June.
- Antti Niemi will return to the net tonight after not playing in the team's last three games due to an illness. Now it appears that Alex Stalock is the goaltender feeling more greatly under the weather.