The Sharks are well aware of what they need to do for seeding heading into the regular-season finale, while even a win for the Coyotes may not improve their positioning.
San Jose and Phoenix get one last chance to help themselves in the tightly-packed Western Conference when they conclude a season-ending home-and-home set at HP Pavilion.
The Sharks (47-25-9) have already clinched a fourth consecutive Pacific Division title, but are still trying to hold off Detroit for the second seed in the West. They’re one point ahead of the Red Wings, meaning a win of any kind Saturday would clinch the No. 2 spot.
A loss would leave San Jose waiting on the result of the Red Wings’ visit to Chicago on Sunday.
The Coyotes (43-25-13) may find themselves waiting on that outcome, too.
Phoenix clinched a second consecutive playoff berth Friday by beating the Sharks 4-3 at home.
“At the start of the year, your goal is to win the division and get into the top eight to give yourself a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “Sometimes, that happens earlier than others. This year, it didn’t happen until the second-to-last game of the season, but we are still in there.”
The Coyotes are unsure of exactly where they’ll finish in the playoff standings, as fourth through eighth are separated by two points.
Another non-shootout victory over the Sharks could mean finishing as high as fourth depending on tiebreakers, but a regulation loss could drop Phoenix as low as seventh - leading to an opening-round matchup against San Jose.
The Coyotes are riding a 10-2-3 surge, but they’re just 3-9-2 in their last 14 visits to San Jose, including losses in their last four trips there.
Captain Shane Doan(notes) came up big with two points Friday for Phoenix, including the eventual game-winner midway through the third period. Doan has six goals and nine assists over his last 15 games.
He has eight goals and 14 assists in his last 21 meetings with the Sharks.
Bryzgalov stopped 33 of 37 shots but allowed three third-period goals in a 5-3 loss Feb. 1, the Coyotes’ last visit to HP Pavilion.
The Sharks would like to lock up the second seed, and set up a playoff series with the Coyotes for the first time since 2002.
“We feel good about our club and we feel confident,” captain Joe Thornton(notes) said. “We’ve got three more periods before the big party starts so it’s nice. We’ve got back-to-back games, go home and play these guys right back again.”
Thornton has five goals and 10 assists in his last 14 games. He found the net again Friday for his 1,000th career point, and has eight points in five meetings with the Coyotes this season.