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Sharks Can Gain Significant Ground In Pacific Division

The San Jose Sharks are on a four-game winning streak, with one of those wins coming against Pacific Division foes the Phoenix Coyotes on the 17th and the other coming by way of the red-hot Vancouver Canucks on the 20th. The Sharks thoroughly drubbed the former, and took the latter through over time into a shootout, where Joe Pavelski put them down and gave San Jose the 2-1 win. The Coyotes remain ahead of the Sharks in the Pacific Division, while the Canucks continue to be the class of the Western Conference.

However, the Sharks are winning games and that's what matters. Not only are they winning, but they're winning against significant foes, and their next three games are all against Pacific Division rivals. On Wednesday, the Sharks take on the Los Angeles Kings, and follow it up with games against the Anaheim Ducks, and another against the Coyotes. San Jose sits two points back of Phoenix, five of Anaheim and eight of the Dallas Stars. Any points they can get while simultaneously denying the Coyotes and the Ducks points can only serve to help them.

They'll need rookie Logan Couture to continue to play well (does he ever ... not score?) and Antti Niemi to hold the fort and stop everything in his path. It's an uphill battle from here on out, playoffs are no longer a foregone conclusion for Sharks fans. Suddenly, the years of losing in the playoffs don't seem all that bad, as they sit two points above last place in their division.

But these divisional games can take their toll on the opposition, if only San Jose apply the pressure. Will they extend their winning streak?