It truly is crunch time for the San Jose Sharks and their opponents fighting for the last few playoff spots. Fans will not only be rooting for their team in earnest, but will be rooting for other clubs they may never have dreamed of cheering for.
Anaheim is on fire at this moment and has pulled within four points of Nashville for the fourth seed. The Ducks have eight games remaining (Los Angeles, Dallas, at Los Angeles, at Vancouver, at Calgary, at Edmonton, at San Jose, Calgary) and sit at 90 points. Colorado sits just two points behind Anaheim with the same number of games remaining (Chicago, San Jose, St. Louis, Minnesota, Phoenix, at Calgary, at Vancouver, at Edmonton).
Closer to Team Teal, and having played more games, are Vancouver with 87 points and Edmonton with 86 points. The Canucks currently hold the seventh position, but have played the most games and have only six remaining (at Los Angeles, Calgary, Anaheim, San Jose, at San Jose, Colorado). From San Jose’s perspective, it is like an unopened Christmas present having three games in hand on a club, but both teams likely view the back-to-back home and road contests on April 12 and 13 as an advantage and a way to control their own destiny.
Edmonton is holding on the eighth spot, with only seven games remaining, (Phoenix, at Minnesota, at Chicago, at St. Louis at Detroit, Anaheim, Colorado), two less than San Jose.
The Sharks and their 83 points are currently on the outside looking in, but could close the gap quickly by taking advantage of games in hand. Those four additional points available still allow the Sharks to control their own destiny when it comes to securing the playoffs.
However, should they need help, old rivals could quickly become the team of choice for Sharks fans. Bay Area people could easily find themselves rooting for Calgary and Colorado, two clubs with some strong playoff history against San Jose.
The Avalanche play Vancouver and Edmonton once. Calgary still has one contest remaining with Vancouver. Southern California rivals Los Angeles and Anaheim each have a game remaining with Vancouver and the Ducks have late contest against Edmonton.
And for Sharks fans, it begins with a 5:30 p.m. PST faceoff for San Jose in Dallas today against the Stars. The game will be on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.