Pacific Division champions? Check. First place in the Western Conference? Check. The Presidents’ Trophy? Still working on it.
The San Jose Sharks are can still clinch their first Presidents' Trophy in franchise history and the all important home ice advantage throughout the playoffs on Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, it’s about us trying to win the Presidents’ Trophy,” defenseman Douglas Murray
Despite the Sharks’ loss Thursday night, the Detroit Red Wings fell in the shootout to the Nashville Predators to help the Sharks clinched first place in the Western Conference and thus securing home-ice advantage through at least the first three rounds of the playoffs.
“I think it’s really important in playoffs to have home ice,” forward Milan Michalek said. “It’s been a goal all season to get that advantage.”
San Jose currently has 117 points while the Boston Bruins have tallied 114 after their 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens Thursday. The Bruins have two games remaining.
“To start at home it allows you to set a precedent,” said defenseman Brad Lukowich. “They have to steal one at your place and we know how good we are at home.”
The Sharks own the best record at home in the NHL at 32-5-4. The Bruins are second with a 29-6-6 record at home.
“It comes down to who is better on the board and who wants it more,” Lukowich said. “You have to out-compete them and having home ice helps.”
Lukowich can speak from experience. The defenseman believes that home-ice advantage was the deciding factor in his Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup run.
“The Flyers got an overtime goal to beat us and send it back to Tampa,” said the defenseman of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference between the Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers. “We went back and talked about using home ice as a tool and our fans were really behind us.”
Home-ice advantage once again was vital during the Stanley Cup Finals for Lukowich and Tampa Bay as they took on the Calgary Flames
“Their city knew and our city knew that we had home ice and we had the advantage,” said Lukowich when his Lightning defeated the Flames in seven-games.
The Sharks still have one final chance to clinch thePresident’s Trophy when they battle the Los Angeles Kings Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Staples Center on Saturday in their final game of the 2008-09 regular season.
The game will be on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.
The San Jose Sharks practices will be closed to the public during the Stanley Cup playoff.