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San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks have eye on Macklin Celebrini

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San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks have eye on Macklin Celebrini

Will Macklin Celebrini become a member of the San Jose Sharks?

Barring something unexpected, there’s a 25.5 percent chance.

The Sharks have been mired in 32nd place in the NHL’s overall standings for the last three weeks and unless they suddenly get hot, that’s where they will finish, too. If that’s the case, they will have a 25.5 percent chance of winning the draft lottery.

The Sharks, with 42 points, have won just once in their last 11 games and going into Thursday’s date with the Los Angeles Kings, are seven points back of the Chicago Blackhawks for 31st place.

Theoretically, the Sharks could ‘clinch’ 32nd place as soon as Sunday night if they lose their next three games in regulation time and the Blackhawks win their next two. That likely won’t happen.

But even if the Blackhawks do not earn another point, the Sharks would need to win no less than three of their final eight games and go to overtime in at least two others to pass Chicago. That’s because the Blackhawks own the first tie-breaker, regulation wins, with 16 compared to the Sharks’ 13. The second tie-breaker is also owned by Chicago, with 21 regulation or overtime wins to San Jose’s 16.

The last time the Sharks had a .500 points percentage over an eight-game span was between Jan. 20 and Feb. 15, when they went 5-2-1. Since then, the Sharks are 2-15-3.

That’s not to say the Sharks haven’t been trying. Of those 15 regulation time losses, eight were decided by two goals or less, including Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken. More games were lost after San Jose led or were tied going into the third period.

But the Sharks do not have much firepower, averaging only 2.48 goals per game since Feb. 16 – the third lowest in the NHL.

“It hasn’t been an easy season for anybody,” Sharks winger Justin Bailey said last week. “But we’ve stayed positive on the bench and in the locker room. Continue to work, continue to do things that we think will make us successful.”

Celebrini, a former Jr. Shark, led Boston University into the NCAA Frozen Four with a combined five points in wins over the Rochester Institute of Technology and Minnesota in last week’s regionals. The centerman has 64 points in 37 games for a 1.73 points per game average, second-best in Division I behind the Sharks’ top prospect, Boston College’s Will Smith (1.77).

BU plays Denver in the national semifinals on April 11. The other semifinal has Boston College facing Michigan. The title game is on April 13.

Here’s how things look for the NHL’s bottom three teams with two weeks left.

30. Anaheim Ducks (25-47-4, 54 points, 6 games remaining)

Home (4): Seattle, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Calgary

Road (2): Los Angeles, Vegas

Remaining opponents’ points percentage: .558 (13th-hardest in NHL, per Tankathon.com)

Outlook: The Ducks beat the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, earning just their second victory in their last 14 games. Oddly enough, they’ve actually accumulated the same number of points as the Sharks, five, since March 8. Anaheim’s remaining schedule is not easy, as it has four games left against teams with something to play for, either to get into the playoffs or for seeding.

It’s still possible for the Ducks to fall to 31st place behind the Blackhawks, who are five points back with one game in hand. The 31st-place team has a 13.5 percent chance of winning the lottery, and the 30th-place team has an 11.5 percent chance.

31. Chicago Blackhawks (22-48-5, 49 points, 7 GR)

Home (4): Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, Carolina

Road (3): St. Louis, Vegas, Los Angeles

Remaining opponents’ points percentage: .610 (third-hardest in NHL)

Outlook: The Blackhawks are (gasp!) 7-6-0 since March 5 with Connor Bedard and Philipp Kurashev combining for 33 points. Goalie Petr Mrazek is also playing well with a .908 save percentage in his last nine games, as Chicago’s goals-against average is around the middle of the pack. That’s allowed Chicago to go from two points behind the Sharks to seven points ahead in less than four weeks.

That said, the Blackhawks have a brutal schedule to finish the season, as all seven games come against teams with an above .500 points percentage. Five of those games are against teams now in a playoff spot. Chicago, though, is not a pushover at home with a 15-18-4 record.

32. San Jose Sharks (17-49-8, 42 points, 8 GR)

Home (5): Los Angeles, St. Louis, Arizona, Calgary, Minnesota

Road (3): Seattle, Edmonton, Calgary

Remaining opponents’ points percentage: .536 (21st-hardest in NHL)

Outlook: What’s the old saying? If you’re going through hell, keep going? The Sharks have come this far, so what’s the harm in staying the course for a couple more weeks?



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