After their 7-0-0 start, Sharks fans thought that their team was invincible. Turns out all good things come to an end, and for the Bay Area team, it was an abrupt end. The slumping Sharks have lost their last four decisions, but have picked up a point in two of them. Hopefully the team can get back to their winning ways on this somewhat weird road trip.
The Sharks start their adventure in Ohio where they will face the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 ET tonight. The Blue Jackets are on a bit of a slide themselves, losing their last three games, so this should be a good game. Last year, the Sharks were 3-1-0 vs Columbus, and this is their first meeting this year.
Then, San Jose will travel to play the Nashville Predators. The Sharks will try to get some revenge vs the Preds, who handed them their first loss of the season. After being shutout by the Chicago Blackhawks, who have been unstoppable, the Predators are hungry for a win, which they plan on getting vs the Sharks.
Speaking of Chicago, the Sharks will make their next stop at the United Center to face the Blackhawks. There isn’t much to say about the Blackhawks besides “how do they keep winning”. The Sharks plan on handing the Hawks their first loss of the season, and will hopefully have a happy flight back to San Jose.
You read that right…the Sharks are heading back home after the first 3 games of their road trip. Why are they heading back home right in the middle of their road trip? Head Coach Todd McLellan had an answer for his unusual decision. “We’ve always had that long trip. We looked at some of the successes we’ve had and some of the failure we’ve had. We didn’t make many changes to the group that we have this year, so we put more value into last year. That was a turning point in our season, I believe, last year.” What McLellan is referring to is the 2-6-1 road trip that essentially derailed the Sharks season last year. After their quick stop home, the Sharks will head back out on the road to face the St. Louis Blues.
The Blues are always a challenge for the Sharks, and this game will be no different. Looking to avenge their loss to the Blues in the playoffs last year, the Sharks hope to restart their road trip on a good note. It’s not easy to play in the Scottrade Center, so the Sharks will need to bring their A-game.
Another weird twist to this road trip is the scheduling. Even though the Sharks already played the Blackhawks earlier in the road trip, the NHL decided to have another game one week later. Hopefully something exciting happens in the first game, so we can see part two in the game a week later.
The last stop on the Sharks journey is against Pacific Division rival Dallas. The Dallas Stars are a tough team to beat, and hopefully the Sharks will still have some energy after their long road trip to pull one more win out and end their trip on a strong note.
This road trip will drain a lot out of the Sharks, and will either be a big booster or killer in the standings. In this condensed season, a six game road trip is one eight of the season, and if the Sharks fail to get back to their winning ways, the team will have to dig themselves out of a huge hole.