The San Jose Sharks are seeking their first Western Conference finals appearance since 2011. The Nashville Predators are eyeing their first in franchise history.
Those teams will square off Thursday night in a deciding Game 7, with the winner advancing to battle the St. Louis Blues and the loser packing up and heading home for the summer.
And while some Bruins fans might be backing Sharks center Joe Thornton in his quest to hoist his first Stanley Cup, the best-case scenario for Boston involves another early playoff exit for Jumbo Joe.
You see, the Bruins own the Sharks’ first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft after acquiring it last summer in a trade for goalie Martin Jones. As Ty Anderson of HockeyBuzz noted Thursday, that pick could be as high as the 18th overall selection, but only if San Jose bows out in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. If the Sharks dispatch the Predators and move on to the conference finals, the B’s would receive a pick between Nos. 27 and 30.
That’s a difference of at least nine selections — a significant gap, regardless of whether the Bruins choose to keep the pick or package it in another deal. Boston also holds its own first-round pick, No. 14.
The home team has yet to lose during this series, with the Sharks winning Games 1, 2 and 5 at SAP Center and the Predators taking Games 3, 4 and 6 at Bridgestone Arena. San Jose will host Game 7.
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher