After Tuesday night’s 4-0 loss in Columbus against the Blue Jackets, the San Jose Sharks dropped to 6-11-2 this year on the road, away from the friendly ice of HP Pavilion and legions of loyal fans.
Sadly, for the Sharks, five of their remaining nine games are on the road, as they try to clinch a playoff spot in their quest to win their first National Hockey League Stanley Cup.
So what’s to be done? First, San Jose (20-12-7) needs to beat the Detroit Red Wings (19-15-5) tonight on the road. That would help.
The Sharks stand fifth in the Western Conference currently, with 47 points. The Red Wings are eighth, with 43 points. This game has some significance then, for both teams, as this shortened 2013 season gets close to winding down.
San Jose has three games, including tonight, left on the road before they return home for four straight. Then, the Sharks close the season at Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Giving San Jose hope is that the 2013 Red Wings have already lost as many games at home this season (10) as they did all over last year during a full 82-game schedule.
In fact, Detroit is only a .500 team at home in 2013, so even though the Sharks stink on the road, maybe they have a shot tonight to steal a win — or at least, a point in the standings.
San Jose had nothing in Columbus Tuesday, however, as they didn’t score, and goaltender Antti Niemi had an off night before getting pulled in the third period. The Sharks got a usual number of shots on goal (30), but Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky was a stone wall San Jose could not crack.
Small pieces of good news for tonight include the facts the Sharks are 7-1-1 in the last nine regular-season meetings with the Red Wings, and Niemi is 4-1-1 with a 1.64 GAA in his last six starts against Detroit.
However, the Red Wings did deal the Sharks a bad defeat in late February, overcoming a 1-0 deficit in the third period to win in the overtime shootout. San Jose did recover to beat Detroit 2-0 a month later.