The Calder Cup Crystal Ball!

The Calder Cup Crystal Ball!
The Worcester Sharks head into the final weekend of the 2010-11 AHL regular season with a chance to still make the Calder Cup Playoffs!   The Sharks are currently 1 point behind the Whale for the final guaranteed spot in the Atlantic Division. Worcester has two games remaining while the Whale play a 3-in-3 this weekend.
This is what has to happen for the Sharks to make the playoffs… (remember, the Whale will win the tie breaker)
Scenario 1: The Sharks win both games (4 points) in Charlotte on Friday and Saturday… and the Whale grab only two points in their final three games (2 vs. Bridgeport, and host Norfolk on Sunday).
Scenario 2: The Sharks grab three points (W and OTL or SOL) in two games at Charlotte…. and the Whale pick up only a single point (2L and OTL or SOL) in their final three games.
What the Sharks need to do…. the Sharks need to start finding the back of the net (13 goals in their last 7 games played) with greater frequency. Worcester has received terrific goaltending down the stretch and will need the same in Charlotte. The Sharks power play needs to start to get rolling… while the Sharks penalty has been spectacular (16-for-16 in last 5 games), the Sharks power play has had a rough go (2-for-22 in last 5 games). The Sharks need to play with desperation from start to finish in both games this weekend.
The Sharks opponent this weekend… The Charlotte Checkers have wrapped up a playoff spot in the East Division and currently sit in 3rd place in the East Division. The Checkers cannot jump into 2nd place past the Bears, even with two wins against the Sharks. Let’s hope the Checkers rest some key contributors this weekend headed into the playoffs. Charlotte has a 20-13-1-4 record on home ice this season.
The Whale… Meanwhile, the CT Whale is .500 over their last five games 5-5-0-0 and have to play their state rivals, the Sound Tigers in a home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday.   The Sound Tigers have been out of the playoff race for a while, but have gone 6-2-1-2 in their last 11 games and currently playing some of their best hockey all season. Bridgeport is 3-4-0-1 vs. the Whale this season in a tough-and –rumble season series. The Sound Tigers would love to knock the Whale out of a playoff berth with two big wins this weekend. Go Sound Tigers!
The NY Rangers have a say… The Whale may be without a few key contributors, as their NHL affiliate, the NY Rangers have been battling some injuries and are in a race of their own for the final spot in the Eastern Conference in the NHL. Call up the Whale to the NHL!
The Admirals Factor… The Sharks playoff hopes might come down to the final day of the regular season on Sunday at the XL Center in Hartford. As the Sharks fly home from Charlotte (let’s assume with 4 points) on Sunday, the Whale host the Norfolk Admirals at 5pm. The Admirals will be playing their 5th road game in 7 days (they will be a tired bunch) and have already clinched a playoff spot. Not good.
Sharks best Chance… simple as this: Win the two games in Charlotte and the Whale lose both games in regulation to the Sound Tigers on Friday and Saturday!   The Sharks are not going to want to depend on the road weary Admirals on Sunday!
Go Sharks!

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