Home ice unlikely for Sharks in first round

Home ice unlikely for Sharks in first round
April 25, 2013, 8:00 pm
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The Sharks will need some help from the Blackhawks in order to jump into the No. 4 spot and home ice advantage. (AP)

The Sharks’ chances for home ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs took another hit on Thursday night.

The St. Louis Blues (58 points) jumped ahead of San Jose and the Los Angeles Kings (57 points each) with a 4-1 win over Calgary. The Sharks fell to sixth place in the Western Conference, as L.A. owns the tiebreaker with the Sharks with more non-shootout wins.

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San Jose can still finish fourth, but will need to beat the Kings on Saturday and hope the Blues lose in regulation to Chicago. The Blackhawks, who have already clinched the President’s Trophy and top seed, could be resting some of their top players by then.

The Sharks can land anywhere from fourth to seventh in the conference, as only the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets are guaranteed to finish beneath them. Minnesota currently trails the Sharks by four points with two games remaining, and owns the tiebreaker. The Wild host Edmonton on Friday and visit Colorado on Saturday.

Mathematically, the Sharks are most likely to finish in sixth (46 percent), according to SportsClubStats.com. That would bring a first round playoff series with the Canucks, beginning in Vancouver.