After going 6-0-1 on their homestand the Sharks head back out onto the road for a four-game trip. It will be interesting to see if the team can continue their recent success away from San Jose, since the road has not been a friend to the team this season. Just check out their home/away records:
That's a pretty dramatic difference - and with six of the team's final ten games played on the road, it's a good opportunity for the Sharks to score a few more victories on opposition ice.
The Sharks kick off their road trip in Columbus, against the Blue Jackets. They also play the Blue Jackets one more, in San Jose, on the 21st of April.
The Sharks are the only team that plays the Blue Jackets twice in these final weeks of the season...and they can crush their dim playoff hopes with a pair of victories.
Honestly, even one victory would probably do it.
As late as the trade deadline, the Blue Jackets still had a decent chance of making the playoffs. That was the rationale behind trading a pair of solid young forwards named Derek and a decent defenseman for the oft-injured, expensive, probably-on-the-wrong-side-of-his-prime-but-still-good Marian Gaborik. Trading for Gaborik really only makes sense if you think your team is going to be able to make the playoffs this year. So on April 3rd, when the trade happened, an argument could have been made that it was a decent move by Columbus.
A week later, though, and it's all fallen apart.
The Blue Jackets won their first game with Gaborik but then lost their next two - including handing two points to the St. Louis Blues, a team that probably needed to miss the playoffs if the Blue Jackets had a chance to sneak in. While they were losing, teams like the Blues, Oilers, and Coyotes have been picking up some standings points...and now the dream is dead in Columbus. Their odds of making the playoffs are down to 3.4% as I write this prior to Monday night's games, and could easily be even slimmer by the time you are reading this. They need to leapfrog several teams who are playing better hockey, have games in hand, and all of which would win the ROW tiebreaker if it came down to that.
More than likely, the Blue Jackets would still miss the playoffs even if they won both of their upcoming games against the Sharks. But the Sharks have a chance to remove all doubt and pound the final two nails in their coffin.
Have fun in the Eastern Conference, Blue Jackets. I'm sure you'll find it much more your speed.
Prediction: The Blue Jackets spend way too much time trying to set up Gaborik, and the Sharks win 3-1.
My 10th favorite book is The Scar, by China Miéville. I've already talked about his book Perdido Street Station, which is from the same trilogy, but I like this one a little bit better. It is a Weird sci-fi/fantasy novel that takes place on a city that floats in the middle of the ocean, and it has lots of fantastic monsters and creatures and political stuff, just like all of Miéville's other books.
You don't need to have read Perdido Street Station before you read The Scar. All the books in the trilogy stand on their own. I highly recommend checking it out.