Both the Sharks and Oilers have seen impressive starts to seasons turn into less-impressive finishes. With that said, the Pacific title remains within reach as the teams face off at 6 p.m. PT at Rogers Place for the final time during the regular season with the season series hanging in the balance.
San Jose ended a long skid on Tuesday by beating the Rangers 5-4 in overtime while the Oilers topped the Kings to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2006. The teams currently have a 46 percent chance of meeting in the first round of the postseason according to hockeyviz.com, a matchup I like for the Sharks (the absence of Logan Couture and my concern about the health of Marc-Edouard Vlasic notwithstanding).
While San Jose didn’t play a full 60 minutes of solid hockey on Tuesday, there were at least signs of life. That’s more than could be set about the 120 minutes of flopping around we saw over the weekend. So now the Sharks will look to make it two wins in a row while capturing the season series over the Oilers. San Jose leads the series two games to one (4-3 in points).
Neither the Sharks nor the Oilers have particularly had a great time in the last 25 games as both teams have seen their possession numbers drop. Fatigue may be a factor for both clubs as Edmonton’s youth and San Jose’s age gets the best of them. This would be a very intriguing first round series and one I feel favors the Sharks more than a meeting with the Ducks or Flames.
But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, the Sharks have an opportunity to pick up some valuable points before playing in the second half of a back to back against the Flames on Friday. Gulp.