The Wild, Wild West has proven to be just that in the 2006 Playoffs presented by Intersil. Not one higher seed currently holds an advantage in the best-of-seven opening round series.
Sharks fans are well aware that their fifth-seeded Sharks hold a 3-1 lead against the fourth seeded Predators. Team Teal can close out the Predators Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.
In Colorado, the seventh seeded Avalanche hold a commanding 3-0 lead on the second seeded Dallas Stars and can eliminate the Pacific Division Champs Friday evening in Denver.
The other two remaining Western Conference Quarterfinal series are both tied at two games apiece. In the Motor City, top-seeded Detroit and eighth-seeded Edmonton are all even following the Red Wings convincing win on Thursday. While in Calgary, the Flames await Game 5 against the sixth-seeded Mighty Ducks with the series tied at two.
The Sharks have three opportunities to close out their series, beginning Sunday. But if necessary, they would have Game 6 at HP Pavilion on Tuesday night. Many consider the HP Pavilion faithful to be the loudest and best fans in the NHL and they showed that support in helping Team Teal hold home-ice advantage.
One thing is for certain - no team is guaranteed of advancing without winning a fourth game.
“Winning the fourth is hard to do,” said Mark Smith. “We know their building will be rocking and they will come out hard than any other game this season.”
There is a reason the Predators posted the NHL’s best regular season home record, so the Sharks do not want to allow the possibility of extending the series any longer than possible, especially to a Game 7.
In the East, only one lower seed holds an advantage. Fourth-seeded Buffalo leads fifth-seeded Philadelphia 2-1, third-seeded New Jersey is blanking the sixth-seeded New York Rangers 3-0 and the top seeded Ottawa Senators hold a 3-1 lead on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay.
The only place where the underdog is shining out east is in Canada where seventh-seeded Montreal holds a 2-1 advantage on number two Carolina.
The playoffs have just begun and have more than a month and a half to go. Hopefully for Sharks fans, Team Teal will be around for the entire ride.