At the beginning of the season the Sharks looked like they were not going to be the dominant powerhouse they were in years past. Losing games to sub-par opponents and not having a captain to lead them. It looked like the “rebuild,” or lack thereof, went in the opposite direction. Recently, though, with Joe Pavelski on the verge of the captaincy, the Sharks have picked it back up. They are dominant on home ice and are 9-1-0 in their last ten. Starting the season with 16 of 21 games on the road did not do the Sharks any favors, but that’s not an excuse, and now they have to return to the road to face some tough teams. Can they keep up their winning ways? Here is what they’re going to have to do against each opponent to keep the W’s coming.
@Anaheim: Currently the only team above the Sharks in the Pacific division, the Ducks are still a scary team to face on the road, or even at home. San Jose, though, has found ways to beat this tough opponent. They have won the last two meetings and looked good doing so. Last game they jumped out to an early lead and did not look back. To win, San Jose needs to start fast and not take their foot off the gas pedal like they did last game.
@Los Angeles: Los Angeles, the Sharks’ biggest rival is always a tough game to play but a fun game to watch. These two teams hate each other and are not afraid to show it. They have only played against each other once this season, the season opener. Antti Niemi shut the door on them, pulling off a 4-0 victory. To win this game the Sharks should constantly have that reverse sweep on their mind and play solely for revenge.
Vancouver: Ah, home sweet home. Back at home for a quick game against Vancouver will be a thriller. Earlier this season the Canucks pulled a victory off on the road against San Jose, so this time around the Sharks will try to keep their home ice advantage and get two points. In order to win they will have to feed off of the energy the crowd gives them. Vancouver games usually sellout, and the fans like to get extra loud for our friends north of the border.
@Anaheim: Back to the pond for this one, and the Sharks are hopefully still riding a winning streak. If the Sharks use what they learn playing Anaheim the first time around, they should have a good game. This is the second half of a back-to-back, though, so legs might be an issue after a while, which usually doesn’t play out to well against a good team like Anaheim.
St. Louis: Happy new year. After some partying and holiday sweater rapping the Sharks have another tough game against St. Louis. If last game was any indication it won’t be easy. To win the Sharks will need to play all 60 minutes, even if they have a lead, and capitalize on mistakes and mismatches that arise in the middle of the game.
So yes. The Sharks have beaten all of these teams before, on the road and at home. The Sharks have a solid chance in all of these games, and the expectation is getting at least a point if not two points in all of them.