The San Jose Sharks woke up Monday morning on the outside looking in with only a handful of games remaining in this pulsating race to the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. On Monday night, they went to sleep atop the Pacific Division.
With the help of the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, the Sharks moved back into first place in the Pacific for the first time since Feb. 25 with a 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche at HP Pavilion. San Jose, which now has 88 points, will be seeking its fourth straight win Wednesday night at Anaheim.
While the Sharks still have a ways to go before they can rest comfortably, the Detroit Red Wings clinched a playoff berth for a 21st consecutive year with Monday's 7-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Joe Louis Arena. Remarkably, the Wings -- who moved back into fourth place with the victory -- are still eight years shy of matching the Boston Bruins' record of 29 consecutive playoff appearances (1968-1996).