Friday, April 8, 2011

Two Games To Go

The regular season is about to end for the Sharks in two short games, both against the Phoenix Coyotes: today in Phoenix, and tomorrow in San Jose.

Two things we know for certain: the Sharks are in the playoffs and Sharks have again won the Pacific Division title.

What we, as Sharks fans, must do now is to hope for a successful post-season campaign. If the playoffs started today, the Sharks would face the Ducks, the same team that defeated them last game 6-2. Many would argue, however, that Coach Todd McLellan used that opportunity to give the Sharks added practice time and to give goaltender Antero Niittymaki some time in the net, due to the certainty of the Sharks qualifying for playoffs and the Division title.

Fortunately, the Sharks are also anticipating the return of both Ryane Clowe and Scott Nichol. Clowe had missed the last game due to a lower body injury, while Nichol had missed nearly twenty games due to an upper body injury. Both players will be vital to the Sharks’ success in the postseason.

For the Western Conference, only the Vancouver Canucks, the Sharks, the Detroit Red Wings, and the Los Angeles Kings have already qualified for postseason, meaning there is a close fight between five other teams scrambling to fill in four spots – one of those teams being the Phoenix Coyotes.

Fortunately for the Sharks, they have had relative success against the Coyotes this year, outscoring them 17-7 so far this season. The next few days will determine rather quickly just how the Western Conference teams will fill out.

The Sharks play the Coyotes tonight at 7:00pm PST in the first of their last two games of the regular season.

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