What a beautiful morning. After spending last season watching the playoffs from their couches, the San Jose Sharks are guaranteed to play at least four games in the post season. In what many thought would be a rebuilding year, San Jose has clinched a playoff berth, tallied 90 points, and there are still six games to be played. Feels good, doesn't it?
The Sharks took the season series against Los Angeles last night, winning the rubber game by a score of 5-2, but have a quick turnaround as they face the Vancouver Canucks tonight up north. Just a month ago, these teams met three times in four games with points being critical to come by. The Canucks were just ten points behind the Sharks in the standings when these teams faced off on February 28; it was a great opportunity for Vancouver to gain ground on the Sharks for a playoff spot. Instead the Sharks won two of three, widening their lead over the 'Nucks. In the four weeks since, the Canucks have become one of the worst teams in the league while San Jose has been the polar opposite.
With the Kings and Ducks having the night off, the Sharks could use the two points to inch closer to Anaheim and Los Angeles in the standings, for those of you who still wish for home-ice in the first round.
Tale of the Tape
|3rd in Pacific||Rank||6th in Pacific|
7 PM PDT | Rogers Arena | Vancouver, British Columbia
Know Your Enemy: Nucks Misconduct
The Canucks went 3/7 on the powerplay and defeated the Sharks 4-2 in San Jose earlier this month. Micheal Haley and Brent Burns had a goal each for San Jose, but Dan Hamhuis scored the game-winner to give the Canucks their first win over the Sharks this season. James Reimer made his first start for the Sharks, making 22 saves and not allowing an even strength goal.
- With a playoff berth clinched and six games remaining on the schedule, Reimer and Martin Jones should make three starts each. Going 50/50 the next few games allows Jones to rest for the playoffs and gives Reimer an opportunity to build on what has been a strong tenure in teal (minus his last start, yikes).
- Joe Thornton is tied with Mark Recchi on the all-time assists leaderboard with 956. One more assist gives Jumbo sole possesion of 14th place and puts him seven assists behind Doug Gilmour, who he should pass early next season.
- A year after making the playoffs, the Canucks 67 points are second-worst in the league, tied with Edmonton and two points more than Toronto's 65. They're in a good position to land Auston Matthews in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, barring they win the draft lottery (11.5% chance according to NHLLotterySimulator.com).