With the NHL playoff race getting down to the wire, we’ll be providing regular updates on each bubble team’s postseason push.
Bubble team: San Jose Sharks
Where they stand: 3rd in the West (first in the Pacific Division), two points clear of ninth-place Los Angeles
Games remaining: 6
SportsClubStats.com says: 79.1% chance of making the playoffs
Why they’ll get in:
A renewed confidence. The Sharks are 6-2-1 since a miserable month-and-a-bit of poor play. Monday they smoked Colorado, 5-1, for their third straight victory – a win that lifted them into first in the Pacific Division. This is unfamiliar territory for San Jose, a team that’s used to clinching a playoff spot well before the final game of the season. But lately the players seem to be responding.
Why they won’t:
Four of their last six games are on the road, where the Sharks are a mediocre 15-15-7. In fact, San Jose has just two road victories in its last 12 tries. And while most of those losses came during the aforementioned “miserable month-and-a-bit of poor play,” it was miserable in part because of all games away from the Tank.
“Lately we’ve been having fun playing, guys are smiling. Not that we weren’t before but maybe we were a little more uptight when we were losing, and didn’t want to make a mistake. Guys are going out there playing more free and things are working out.” – Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Biggest game coming up:
Thursday at the Coyotes