Sharks control Pacific Division fate, for now

March 17, 2012, 10:36 pm
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SAN JOSE The Sharks got some help on Friday night.

Coach Todd McLellan, whose club is battling for a playoff spot, was probably well aware when certain games concluded as Dallas and Calgary both failed to record a point in the standings against Chicago and Edmonton, respectively.

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We watch games every night. Thats what we do. When youre watching them youre checking scores elsewhere, especially this time of year and the position were in, McLellan said.

The Sharks sit in ninth place headed into Saturdays game with the Red Wings, and are just three points behind the Pacific Division-leading Stars, with two games in hand. Win those two games, and the Sharks are right back up in the third position and would get home ice advantage in the first round.
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McLellan doesnt want his team to focus on that just yet, though.

The premium that we put on anything is a win tonight, he said on Saturday morning. Not Pacific titles or even getting into the playoffs. One mile at a time.

If thats truly the case, he may not want to read on. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, for example, thinks its necessary to take a peek at whats goin down elsewhere.

You need to, to know where you are. Were not that far off of third place in our division, so we need to put some wins together here to secure ourselves a playoff spot and gain ground on others, he said.

His defense partner agrees.

You want to get in the playoffs, but youve got to try and get home ice advantage. Its not like its out of reach for us, its right there in front of us. Were going to get to control if we want it or not, Dan Boyle said. We dont have to look around and wait for other teams to do their job, weve just got to do ours.

What may be more important than seeding, though, is playing well when the postseason tournament begins. Thats true of whether the Sharks finish in third, seventh, or eighth, which seem to be the only real possibilities left.

Vlasic hammered that point home with a bad memory for Sharks fans.

Weve lost to a number eight seeds before, so when you get in, it starts over, he said of the Sharks loss to Anaheim in 2009. For us, were trying to go into the playoffs on a winning note and carry momentum going into it.

Step one, of course, is making it in the first place.