A couple of weeks ago, it was the Washington Capitals spinning lemons into lemonade – now it’s the San Jose Sharks’ turn to play the “all this adversity will help us in the playoffs” card.
The Sharks can clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win over the Kings in Los Angeles, but it’s been a real battle up to this point.
“It hasn’t been a dream season, but sometimes those seasons, if you get in, you can make them work in your favor,” coach Todd McLellan said, as per CSNBayArea.com. “We know what it feels like to cruise through a season and be number one, and then all of a sudden the pressure comes. In this situation, we’ve been playing with pressure for a month now.”
Which is pretty much exactly what Caps forward Mike Knuble said a couple of weeks ago: “The last two years we’ve been kind of cruising, waiting and seeing what everyone else is doing. I have to believe (battling for a playoff spot down the stretch) makes your team sharper from being on every night.”
According to SportsClubStats.com, the Sharks have a 50-percent chance of playing the Canucks in the first round. Unlike San Jose, Vancouver’s never been in real jeopardy of missing the playoffs. Ditto for the Rangers, the likely first-round opponent of the Capitals should Washington qualify.
So maybe we’ll be able to put this “we’ve been in playoff mode while you’ve been sitting around waiting” theory to the test.
The contrasting theory is that the Canucks and Rangers have never been in jeopardy of missing the playoffs because they’re the better teams. (And typically the better teams win.)