Still chasing Sharks?

During the Kings’ lengthy holiday break, there was good debate about whether it was good or bad, for the Kings, for San Jose to beat teams that were closer to the Kings in the standings. Well, that debate should just about be settled now. Entering tonight, the Kings are 15 points behind the Sharks (with two games in hand).

At this point, the Sharks are on pace for 118 points. For the Kings to reach 119 points, they would have to get 62 points in their final 34 games. Not happening. Even if the Sharks go .500 for the rest of the season, they will still end up with 104 points, which would require the Kings to get 48 points in 34 games. Not to mention that Phoenix is also still ahead of the Kings.

At this point, it’s sort of like baseball. When the division title is out of reach, teams look to the wild card. In the Kings’ case, there are five “wild-card” spots open. Terry Murray said today that simply making the playoffs, and not trying to catch any team in particular, was the Kings’ goal…

MURRAY: “We’re looking to get into the playoffs. That’s a gigantic step right there. San Jose is the team that’s picked, by a lot of the pundits out there, to win the Stanley Cup. We want to get into the race and get a taste of the playoffs and learn from it. It’s the goal that we’ve had from the start of the year, and there’s where we want to get to.”

I suggested to Murray that recent history would agree, and that even getting into the playoffs as a No. 8 seed gives a team a good foot in the door…

MURRAY: “That’s what you’re looking for. You’d like to be higher. You’d like to get up into as high as a position you can, by continuing to play and win. But when you get into the playoffs, my goodness, anything can happen. History is a big story-teller on that one.”

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