There are two weeks left in the season. It seems like just yesterday I was driving to Birmingham, Alabama while listening to the San Jose Sharks take down the Vancouver Canucks opening night at SAP Center, and now the Sharks are two weeks away from the end of the season and are involved in a heated division title race with the Anaheim Ducks.
However, after the Olympic break, the Sharks were very far out of the division title race. How did they get all the way up to the top of the division? The Sharks just finished a 17 game in 31 day stretch with a 10-4-3 record. That could be considered a very good record, and in a way it is. But because of the recent games, nobody will remember how good that stretch truly was.
After the Olympic break, the Sharks started very up and down. They beat the Philadelphia Flyers 7-3 and the New Jersey Devils 4-2, but lost to the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 and the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. They really gained no ground on the Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division race. Then, they took on the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game that changed everything on the stretch. The Sharks fought back after going down 2-0 early and won 5-3 in regulation. After that they would go on to win five others and for a total of six straight wins.
Then, they took on the Anaheim Ducks in the battle for first place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks got a great game from Brent Burns and won 3-2 to take over first in the Pacific Division, and having won seven of eight games, things were looking great for Team Teal. Now, the odds of them winning the division are unlikely, and Sharks fans are not pleased with their team’s play. What went wrong?
It started the very next game against the Washington Capitals, a game in which I believe perfectly sums up what would happen the next few games. The Sharks lost 3-2 in a shootout after scoring all four goals in regulation: two for themselves, and two on themselves to keep the Capitals in it. They outplayed the Caps, but only got one point out of it. They would then outplay Calgary, Winnipeg, and Colorado, but little mental mistakes doomed them and they gained one point out of a possible six in those games. The Sharks lost the momentum they had on the Anaheim Ducks in the division race, and have a much more difficult schedule than the Ducks do to end the season.
The Sharks gained 23 points out of a possible 34 against very good teams during this stretch. They ended with wins over the Penguins, Ducks, Canadians, Rangers, and a win in Columbus where they have had many troubles in years past. The stretch was good, but because of what they gained and now what they have lost in the division race, nobody will remember anything except the disappointing four losses in five games, and a probable first round series against the Los Angeles Kings.
Tags: San Jose Sharks