With just under a month until the first puck drop of the season, there is no better time to dive right into the highlights of the San Jose Sharks 2018-2019 season schedule.
Starting Off with a Big Bite
The San Jose Sharks kick off the year at SAP Center for the third consecutive season with a rematch of the 2018 First Round against the Anaheim Ducks October 3.
The home opener marks the seventh time in the last eight seasons San Jose squares off against a Pacific Division opponent, carrying a six-game winning streak into the clash with the Ducks. The Sharks and Ducks meet in the first game of the regular season for the first time since the 2008-2009 season, in which San Jose defeated Anaheim 4-1.
The San Jose Sharks embark on the first of their two longest road trips of the season with another California rivalry against the Los Angeles Kings, before taking off on their East Coast trek.
Swimming Across the Nation
The San Jose Sharks undertake a cross-country expedition in the opening month of the season for the fifth year in the row. Entering his fourth season at the helm, head coach Peter DeBoer leads his team through early heavy road tests against the New York Islanders, the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Rangers, and the New Jersey Devils.
Last year, San Jose went 3-2-0 during their mid-October East Coast trip with wins against the Devils, Rangers, and Sabres. These early extensive travels allow the Sharks, who have done well away from SAP Center in recent years, to gain confidence on the road against teams at an even level of momentum.
Happy and Hungry at Home
In November, the San Jose Sharks see nine of 14 games at the Tank, the most home games during any month of this season.
The second month of the Sharks’ schedule also holds a six-game home series from November 11-23, the longest series of the year. That stretch features some tough tasks for the Sharks as they take on last year’s Central Division champion Nashville Predators, the young, potent offense of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and a revamped St. Louis Blues squad.
Last year, the Sharks maintained a great balance of home and away records with the Sharks going 25-13-3 at SAP Center and 20-14-7 on the road.
The Sharks endure back-to-back games 14 times this season, which is one more than last year’s 13 consecutive contests. These successive challenges allow DeBoer and his team to test their tenacity and intensity in a season of demanding confrontations along the way.
On the Hunt
Let’s take a look at some of critical competitions and key dates that the Sharks will be on the hunt for throughout the season:
November 24 @ Vegas, January 10 @ Vegas, March 18 vs. Vegas, March 30 vs. Vegas
After Thanksgiving break, the Sharks set off to the castle of reigning Western Conference Champion Vegas Golden Knights for the first of four regular season meetings. San Jose and Vegas leave off where they competed heavily against one another in the Second Round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with an urgency to take the throne as this season’s leader of the Pacific Division. San Jose put up arguably the toughest fight for the Golden Knights throughout the playoffs as Vegas advanced to the Stanley Cup.
The Sharks and Golden Knights play two games at T-Mobile Arena before taking the action back to SAP Center toward the tail-end of the season for the final pair of duels. These late matchups give San Jose a great chance to use home ice to their advantage and gain momentum against a strong Pacific Division opponent while the playoff push carries on in the final weeks.
January 22 @ Washington, February 14 vs. Washington
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The Sharks take their first bite of captain Alexander Ovechkin and the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals on the road as the final stop of a four-game journey in late-January. The contest in the nation’s capital comes as the second of a back-to-back set, following a night down South against the Florida Panthers.
In the previous 10 meetings between the two clubs, San Jose owns a 6-2-2 record over Washington. However, the defending Stanley Cup Champions won on the prior two occasions with 2-0 and 4-1 victories last season.
Just over three weeks later, Washington runs the California Gauntlet, beginning with the Sharks at the Tank on Valentine’s Day. The Sharks have proven in the past to stand as a formidable force at home against strong Eastern Conference teams and seek to take down the Capitals under the leadership of new head coach Todd Reirden.
December 20 vs. Winnipeg, February 5 @ Winnipeg, March 12 @ Winnipeg
The “West Side Story” rivalry will revitalize entering the 2018-2019 season after the Sharks and Winnipeg Jets fell to the Golden Knights in last year’s playoffs. The Sharks and Jets stood even in the season series against one another at 1-1-1. San Jose holds an all-time record of 18-9-2 against the Jets and they have yet to meet in the playoffs.
This year’s series proves to be even more pivotal and with higher stakes on the line due to the significant impact in the final game between the two squads a season ago. The Sharks had lost Joe Thornton, who suffered a partially-torn MCL and ACL in his left knee during an intense 5-4 overtime loss against Winnipeg. The Sharks veteran center went on to have successful surgery on both knees, forcing him to miss San Jose’s playoff run. Thornton hopes to remain healthy through the course of this year’s schedule ahead.
The Stars Will Shine in San Jose
The Sharks welcome in the best of the best for the 2019 All-Star weekend from January 25-27. SAP Center will be home to the mid-season classic for the second time with the skills competition and All-Star game decked out in teal. The Sharks last presented the All-Star weekend in 1997. A California city hosts the All-Star festivities for the second time in the last three years with Los Angeles doing the honors in 2017.
As the regular season winds down, the Sharks sink their teeth into a smoother schedule. San Jose plays eight of their last 12 games on home ice to end the season, including six games against teams falling short of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs.
The final road trip of the season is a three-day, two-game stretch up North against the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers. For the second regular season in a row, San Jose concludes with a home tilt against a Central Division opponent – the Colorado Avalanche stand in the way as the last mountain to overcome in the regular season.
The San Jose Sharks have a long swim ahead of them in the 2018-2019 campaign with intense rivalries heating up in the Western Conference and the All-Star game coming to San Jose in a tightly packed schedule. The team in teal lurks in the hunt come playoff time as they draw nearer and nearer with hopes of claiming the culmination of every team’s desire: Lord Stanley’s Cup.