As of Monday, that’s how many games in a row the Sharks have lost – and they had been doing so well too.
Prior to the four-game losing streak, the Sharks had won six of their last eight games, losing only to Los Angeles and Minnesota and they were slowly climbing up the rankings in both the Pacific Division and Western Conference.
Now, after losing to Vancouver, Buffalo, Nashville and Anaheim, the Sharks are back in the basement of the Pacific and if the season ended today, would be out of the playoffs.
Three of the four losses came with a one-goal differential, and each of those times Antti Niemi was between the pipes. In the larger three-goal loss, Antero Niittymaki was given the start. Neither goalie has stepped up recently to dominate the goaltender position, but the Sharks’ offense hasn’t been doing their part either.
The Sharks have been outscored by opponents 10-4 with each of the Sharks’ goals coming from different players and two of their four losses have come from shutouts.
When the team is doing well, it’s great to see different guys get on the board, but when no one is raising their game to compensate for the team’s slump, four goals by four different players looks more like a fluke than actual teamwork.
Sure, the teams the Sharks played were virtually flawless. Vancouver has been playing well and with the top spot in the west, it shows. Ryan Miller of Buffalo made 36 saves against the struggling Sharks team, Nashville capped off a California sweep with their victory in San Jose and Anaheim’s goalie, Jonas Hiller, got back-to-back shutouts after keeping the Sharks’ sluggish offense at bay.
There might be some hope on the horizon though. The Sharks will be playing a couple teams whose play this season hasn’t exactly been up to par. Edmonton sits at the bottom of the Western Conference, and St. Louis, while doing better, has still gone 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. The Sharks will finish the week in Phoenix who out of the three teams is doing better, but still not quite at the top of their game.
The Sharks can turn it around, but they really need to clear the cobwebs and focus if they want to be more than the third-best California team.