Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 4/6/12

The second half is always the time when the San Jose Sharks separate themselves from the pack. Recent history shows that. The latter stages of this year has been a struggle for them, however, as they’ve had to fight their way into the playoffs in Game 81. So which Sharks team will make their presence felt in the upcoming playoffs: the pre-season Cup contenders or the second half underachievers?

San Jose, who has won four consecutive Pacific Division titles, has a chance Saturday night to win number five in a row. By no means has it been a conventional way of winning a division.

On February 4 the Sharks led the division by four points and had won three in a row. Then they hit the skids. They went 4-11-3 in their next 18 games and fell right back on the bubble. As the gears were turning in March – the Sharks’ favorite time of year – they’d follow it up with disappointing losses.

A March 29th shutout loss to the Coyotes didn’t offer much hope for the Sharks, who looked complacent in what was a huge game in the playoff race. But they have rebounded with three straight wins, including a clean home-and-home sweep of the then-playoff contending Dallas Stars.

The Sharks suddenly are showing signs of how they can be. Is this version of Team Teal here to stay for the spring, though?

When pundits discussed Stanley Cup contenders before the season, the Sharks were understandably included on a frequent basis. This is a team that was coming off back-to-back conference final appearances, and added Brent Burns and Martin Havlat to an already-deep lineup.

For the most part this season, we haven’t seen that Cup contender. We haven’t seen that Sharks team that is usually better in the regular season than the playoffs. All we’ve seen is a shell of what the Sharks have been in recent seasons. So will lowered expectations help the Sharks fly under the radar in the West?

Led by Joe Thornton and the rest of a good (yet aging) core, the Sharks have the potential to give teams some fits. But what is their ceiling? Second round? Third round? Most believe the Stanley Cup window has closed on this team, and that their chance to win it all was in the last few years.

If the Sharks end up with the 7 or 8 seed they will definitely be a formidable opponent for Vancouver or St. Louis. And if Todd McLellan’s gang grabs the division title, you’re suddenly looking at a team that could make some noise this spring.

However, that’s only if the Sharks team from the past week shows up. That’s their only chance of winning a round or two (or more) this spring. If the Sharks team from the second half makes an appearance, their stay in the playoffs will be short-lived.

Photo credit: Getty Images
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker