Sharks bite their way into their 10th straight playoff

Benjamin Davidson, Managing editor

The San Jose Sharks are headed to the Stanley Cup playoffs for their 10th consecutive season.

Their playoff spot was attained by their 72nd game of the regular season – in which, one goal was scored by the Sharks to increase their playoff points just above the threshold, thus reserving their 10th straight opportunity to obtain a Stanley Cup title.

With a total record of 51 wins, 22 losses and nine games that went into overtime, the Sharks sit in the seventh spot overall for the 2013-14 regular season, with a total of 111 total points.

Even though a couple of days still remain in the NHL regular season, all 16 playoff berths have already been secured. The only question left to answer is how the match-ups will turn out for the first round under the new post-season format.

Along with realignment of the divisions and conferences this season, the NHL introduced a new structure for the post-season. Each conference, now comprised of two divisions, still has eight teams qualify for the post-season, but the potential match-ups are significantly different.

Under the new format, the first three teams in each division automatically qualified for the post-season. The final two teams to qualify, did so as wild cards based on their record, regardless of division. Those two teams will face the two division winners in round 1 of the post-season. The second and third-place teams in each division then fightt for the remaining spots.

The second round is where it can get a bit confusing. Unlike previous seasons, there is no re-seeding for round 2. The bracket is set, regardless of who wins in the first round.

One thing that it does give us is a nice, clean bracket for the playoffs since the reseeding is no longer. The bracket is the bracket, and you know in advance who the potential opponents are in each round.

Pending who wins the match-up on Thursday, April 17, between the Los Angeles Kings and the Sharks, the winner of this match-up will face-off the winner of the division match-up, in either the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks or the Dallas Stars.

The Sharks are, however, sporting  a bench that is chalk full of raw talent – and from starters to backups, the 2013-14 team looks to be one of the main contenders for the 2014 title.

Despite the loss against the Calgary Flames in the clinch game, it didn’t  seem to undermine the accomplishment of getting to compete in the postseason for a 10th consecutive year – of which, is the second-longest stretch in NHL history, behind the Detroit Red Wings, with a 23 season playoff appearance streak.

Since the new millennium, the Sharks have been to three Western Conference Finals, won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2008-09 and have captured six Pacific Division Championships. In the team’s first 20 years, San Jose has attended 14 post-season games. Detroit is the only team ahead of the Sharks with 779 points to our 753 points.

On April 17,  the verdict will fall if the 10th time is truly our lucky charm.