The San Jose Sharks are finally back in the win column.
Brent Burns‘ goal just 22 seconds into overtime on Saturday night lifted the Sharks to a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, snapping what had been a pretty miserable seven-game losing streak that had them reeling down the stretch run of the regular season.
Even bigger than the win on Saturday is what it means for the Sharks in the playoffs.
Saturday’s means win they have guaranteed themselves home-ice advantage in the first-round, while they still an outside shot at winning the Pacific Division. Even though the Sharks are still six points behind the Calgary Flames even after Saturday’s win, the two teams meet on Saturday. It would take an incredible finish by the Sharks, as well as a total collapse by the Flames, but the potential is still there. But it all has to start with a win on Sunday.
Most likely, though, the Sharks’ first-round opponent is probably going to be the same Vegas team they played on Saturday.
Based on what we saw in that game, it should be an exciting, intense, and brutally physical series.
The two teams met in the second-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs a year ago with the Golden Knights winning the series in six games and as they showed on Saturday there is plenty of bad blood between them.
While the Sharks’ losing streak finally came to an end, Vegas now finds itself on five-game losing streak. All of those losses have come without starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the lineup as he has not played since March 15. He had been playing some of his best hockey of the season up until that point, and the Golden Knights are clearly a different team without him in the lineup as there is a substantial drop between him and backup goalie Malcolm Subban.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.