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Sharks Vs. Coyotes: Pacific Division Totally Up For Grabs

Maybe the San Jose Sharks are still in control when it comes to the Pacific Division, and they just had to get something out of the way, first. Perhaps it's just the Anaheim Ducks who have their number, and since they're eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and have now played all six of their games against San Jose, the Sharks can get back on track, win their final games and enter said playoffs with yet another Pacific Division title.

It's far easier to explain it that way, considering the fact that the Ducks beat the Sharks in five out of six games this season. The Ducks outscored the Sharks 16-12 over those six games, with the only San Jose win coming in January, a 3-1 Sharks win away from the HP Pavilion.

On Wednesday, the Sharks wrapped up that series with a 3-1 loss at the hands of Jonas Hiller ... er ... the Ducks. He's always been dominant against the Sharks, so it was no surprise when he outplayed Antti Niemi in a tight game, in which the Sharks actually out-shot the Ducks by two. That loss bumped the Sharks down the Pacific Division ladder, but just by a single point as the Dallas Stars won their game.

All five of the Sharks' remaining games are against division opponents, so they'll have every opportunity to make it up. At this point, they're only just in the playoffs, hanging on to that No. 8 spot, while they'd much rather be one of the top seeds. On Thursday, the Sharks will take on the Phoenix Coyotes, who have 87 points to San Jose's 88. They, along with the Stars and the Los Angeles Kings, have their sights set on the Pacific Division title, too.

San Jose bested the Coyotes in their last outing, on March 25 when the Sharks won 4-3 in the shootout. Phoenix has taken three of five in the series, so the Sharks are trying to even in out, and hopefully pick up two points. They know they can't rest, it's all coming down to the fire for what feels like the first time in ages. That game is set for 7:00 p.m. pacific.