There's still quite a bit at stake for the San Jose Sharks (45-26-10, 2nd Pacific) in game 82, for the visiting Minnesota Wild (44-26-11, 3rd Central), not so much. The Wild are locked into third place in the Central division, and will travel to take on the Winnipeg Jets in the first round regardless of tonight's outcome. As a result, they're expected to rest forward Zach Parise tonight. Adding Parise's name to those of injured defensemen Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota is missing a lot of key players tonight, a fact upon which the Sharks should be able to capitalize.
The Wild did the Sharks no favors on Tuesday night, allowing four Dustin Brown goals en route to a 4-3 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Combined with the Sharks' statement 4-2 win over the visiting Colorado Avalanche, the Sharks' still hold a grip on second place, but it's pretty precarious. Depending on a series of possible outcomes, the Sharks could hold onto second and play either Los Angeles or the Anaheim Ducks at home, drop to third and play either of those two teams on the road, or even drop to the first wild card spot and hit the road against the division leading Vegas Golden Knights. Make sure you have your Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes gear nearby, is all I'm saying. Just in case.
From the other perspective, that Avalanche loss on Thursday set up a win-and-you're-in game against the St. Louis Blues tonight. With the Blues holding the ROW tie breaker, the Avs need to win in regulation to make the playoffs. All that to say: if you tune in to the Sharks game a little late, I won't tell.
According to head coach Peter DeBoer, prized trade deadline acquisition Evander Kane is a game time decision tonight, but with a long break coming up before the second season gets going, don't be surprised to see him sit (e: or not!). In that same vein, DeBoer expects every player not named Joe Thornton to be good to go by game one. That's a promising notion, considering how well Eric Fehr and Barclay Goodrow have fared in bottom six minutes over the past few weeks.
TL;DR: One point clinches second place no matter what, Sharks, go get it.
Evander Kane -- Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Kevin Labanc
Marcus Sorensen -- Dylan Gambrell -- Joel Ward
Paul Martin -- Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Joakim Ryan, Jannik Hansen
Injured: Joe Thornton (knee), Barclay Goodrow (broken finger), Eric Fehr (lower body), Melker Karlsson (undisclosed)
Nino Niederreiter -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund
Jason Zucker -- Eric Staal -- Tyler Ennis
Jordan Greenway -- Matt Cullen -- Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Daniel Winnik
Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba
Nick Seeler -- Ryan Murphy
Louis Belpedio -- Nate Prosser
Scratched: Zach Parise, Gustav Olofsson
Injured: Jared Spurgeon (hamstring), Ryan Suter (fractured right ankle), Luke Kunin (torn ACL)
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA+, FS-N
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App