Losing to the Anaheim Ducks isn’t a season-killing disappointment for the San Jose Sharks. It doesn’t completely change their excellent chance to make it into the West’s top eight.
Still, when you look at the Sharks remaining schedule, this 5-3 loss was supposed to be San Jose’s easiest remaining contest. Every other match is against a team that’s either headed for the playoffs or desperately fighting the Sharks for one of the final spots.
Just look at the frightening stretch run for San Jose:
Tuesday: at Los Angeles
Thursday: vs. Boston
Saturday: vs. Phoenix
March 26: vs. Colorado
March 28: at Anaheim
March 29: at Phoenix
March 31: vs. Dallas
April 3: at Dallas
April 5: at Los Angeles
April 7: vs. Los Angeles
OK, so maybe one more game against the Ducks would theoretically give them a break, but they lost to Anaheim at home. What would make a road game against the Ducks any easier?
After that Ducks contest, the Sharks face five consecutive contests against Pacific division teams that will be battling them desperately for a playoff spot and/or the division title.
This regulation defeat technically bumps San Jose to 10th place, as you can see from this updated view:
7. Phoenix: 83 points, 30 regulation/OT wins and nine games left
8. Colorado: 83 points, 30 regulation/OT wins and eight games left
9. Los Angeles: 82 points, 30 regulation/OT wins and 10 games left
10. San Jose: 82 points, 29 regulation/OT wins and 10 games left
11. Calgary: 81 points, 31 regulation/OT wins and nine games left
Sharks fans should be excused for imaging what things would be like if this contest went differently. Even an OT/shootout loss would leave them tentatively in seventh place, yet this regulation loss dumps them to 10th.
The odds pour salt on the wounds
Sports Club Stats’ updated situation really kicks some more dirt into the faces of Sharks fans. Here are their odds for who will finish with the last few spots (and who will just miss):
Dallas (slight edge for Pacific): 65.8 percent chance to make playoffs
7. Los Angeles (60.6 percent)
8. Phoenix (60.2 percent)
9. San Jose (55.8 percent – down 14.7 percent)
10. Colorado (31.1 percent)
11. Calgary (28 percent)
Saving grace for San Jose
The one saving grace is the plus of that tough schedule: the Sharks control much of their “destiny” with a resounding three contests against the Kings and two matches against both the Stars and Coyotes. If they win the majority of those squabbles – particularly in regulation – then this loss will be looked as exchanging an alarm clock for waking up with a slap in the face.
Still, only the most stoic Sharks fan will claim that this didn’t hurt.