Takeaways: Schedule catches up to Sharks, but is the worst now behind them?


SAN JOSE — The Sharks will have to wait a couple more days to punch their ticket to the postseason.

Feeling the effects of three games in four nights, the Sharks didn’t have much left in reserve after the first period and lost 4-2 to the Florida Panthers at SAP Center. It was just the sixth regulation time loss at home for the Sharks this season, and their first since a 5-1 defeat to Washington on Feb. 14.

The loss kept the Sharks at 94 points, one point ahead of the Calgary Flames for first place in the Pacific Division.

San Jose could have clinched a playoff spot had it won Thursday after Minnesota, which has 74 points and is three points back of Arizona for the Western Conference’s second wild card spot, lost to Dallas 4-1 earlier Thursday.

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It any case, it won’t be long before the Sharks clinch their 13th postseason berth in 14 years. With 11 games left before the playoffs begin, it’s just a matter of where they’ll finish.

Takeaways from Thursday night:

1. Fatigue clearly an issue: Although the Sharks, generally speaking, liked their post all-star break schedule, there were going to be some rough patches. This mid-March stretch was one of them, as Thursday’s game was their fifth in eight days.

The Sharks played well — often exceptionally well — in that time, starting with a 5-2 win over Montreal on March 7. They outlasted a tough St. Louis team 3-2 on March 9, and had just beaten Minnesota 3-0 on Monday and Central Division-leading Winnipeg 5-4 on Tuesday.

On Thursday, the Sharks scored twice in the first period on eight shots, but managed just six shots in the second period.

“We just have to get our …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

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