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Mailbag: Sharks' postseason prospects, Stanley Cup Playoff format
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Dan Rosen's
Erik Karlsson
Evander Kane
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John Tavares'
Jim Rutherford
Kris Letang
Olli Maatta
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Matt Murray
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Long Island

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the Western Conference First Round
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Positivity     40.00%   
   Negativity   60.00%
The New York Times
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The good news is that the Sharks, who have won their past two games without Kane and Karlsson, and are 10-3-1 without the defenseman this season, have a nine-point lead on the Golden Knights for second place in the Pacific Division, a big enough cushion to give the two players time to get healthy before the playoffs. The Sharks could certainly win that series if it happens, but in that case it would be far more difficult to get out of the first round than if they won the division.Video: Wilson on the flow of the game, Sharks injuries At the GM meetings, any talk of fixing the playoff system? The NHL went to the current format, with the second- and third-place teams in each division playing each other in the first round, for the 2013-14 season to enhance the first-round matchups by featuring rivalries and creating a high-level of excitement, intensity and interest right out of the gate in the playoffs. I understand the counterargument that some of the best teams in the NHL will be eliminated in the first round because of this format, but what's to say they wouldn't be eliminated anyway? You can't get that with a slow burn to the Stanley Cup Final.Video: NHL Now crew reports live from the GM Meetings Do you think John Tavares' incredibly hostile reception on Long Island will have an effect on the decision-making of star players who are considering leaving their team as a UFA? He said he is confident in what the Penguins can accomplish this season, that they're better than they've played and that they should be in a better spot in the standings; they hold the first wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference, tied in points with the Montreal Canadiens and two points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets.It'll be harder on the Penguins because of the injuries to defensemen Kris Letang (upper body) and Olli Maatta (shoulder). -- @eriic_1995Any team that makes the playoffs would be a good first-round matchup for the Islanders because it would mean New York is in the playoffs. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup, the Stanley Cup Playoffs logo, the Stanley Cup Final logo, Center Ice name and logo, NHL Conference logos, NHL Winter Classic name, and The Biggest Assist Happens Off The Ice are registered trademarks and NHL.TV, Vintage Hockey word mark and logo, The Game Lives Where You Do, NHL Winter Classic logo, NHL Heritage Classic name and logo, NHL Stadium Series name and logo, NHL All-Star logo, NHL Face-Off name and logo, NHL.

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