Sharks can clinch playoff spot Saturday, but won't look too far ahead (w/video)

  • San Jose Sharks' Joe Thornton, left, celebrates a goal by teammate Brent Burns next to Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 11, 2014, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The prevailing wisdom outside the organization is that the Sharks want to finish ahead of the Anaheim Ducks so they won't have to open against the Los Angeles Kings in what would be a hard-grinding, physical series that leaves the eventual winner battered and bruised.

"That's the outside talking," Logan Couture said after an optional Friday skate. "In this room, it's win the division so you've got home-ice advantage. That's what we believe in here. Our goal is to get home-ice advantage and see who we play. It doesn't matter who we play in the West. They're going to be a good team."

McLellan won't even concede the premise that the Kings would be the most physical opponent.

"How do we know that? We don't know that. We can't assume that," he said. "There's a lot of hockey left. To begin to predict who we might play and what kind of series it might be is a complete waste of time on our behalf."

A Pacific Division title would mean a first-round matchup with one of two Western Conference wild-card teams — at the moment, either the Minnesota Wild or Phoenix Coyotes. But there's also the possibility the Coyotes will pass the Kings — and the Sharks could face L.A. even if San Jose finishes ahead of Anaheim.

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