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Evaluating the San Jose Sharks’ playoff scenarios

Who they should play/avoid

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, the Sharks reside in first place in the Pacific Division and hold the second seed in the Western Conference playoff picture. They’re in a good position with only 18 games to play as they get ready to take on the Winnipeg Jets tonight.

So, with the Sharks looking good and headed to the playoffs for the second year in the playoffs, who do they want to avoid in the second season? I am confident the Sharks can beat any of the teams in the conference in a seven-game series. The Blackhawks or the Wild seem like the obvious choice, but neither of those teams will appear on the Sharks’ radar until the Conference Final, so let’s look at potential first round opponents.

The Flames are on an absolute tear right now and are tied for the third spot in the division. This Pacific turned into a four-team race over the last week. For a while it looked like San Jose was going to pull away from the others in the Pacific, but there is still a lot of hockey left to be played.

If the playoffs started today, I would not want to play Calgary. They are very hot right now and look like they have a bright future ahead of them. They could easily be the sleeper team who can knock off the favorite in the first round. The Oilers are another team that looks scary.

We haven’t seen Connor McDavid in the playoffs yet and if I’m the opposition, I don’t want to. McDavid might be the Hart winner this season and the Oilers are going to be out to prove that they are a contender and not a pretender.

If I’m a Sharks fan, I want to play Anaheim, LA, or St. Louis, depending on who makes the playoffs out of those three. Anaheim is falling apart right now and they look well on their way to being bounced in the first round. The Kings do have the playoff experience, but I don’t feel they resemble the team that won two Stanley Cups. St. Louis traded Kevin Shattenkirk at the deadline and their goalie situation is a roller coaster ride so they don’t look like that big of a threat either.

Now let’s get hypothetical here, say the Sharks make the Conference Final again and face the Blackhawks or the Wild. Which one would you rather play? First it depends on if the Sharks have home ice or not. If they home ice in the conference final, I like the Sharks chances a lot.

Right now, I would rather face the Blackhawks then the Wild. You might think I’m crazy because of how good Chicago is in the playoffs. However, they’ve beat them two out of the three times they have met this year, both wins at SAP Center. The Wild have beat the Sharks both times this year and will play one more time later this month in Minnesota.

With just a little more than a month left in the season, San Jose looks to be in good shape no matter who they face in the playoffs. Who do you want in the postseason?