It couldn't last forever, regardless of how the San Jose Sharks played, they were going to have to lose again at some point. They were going to have to lose two or three games in a row again before the season was over, that's just how it works in the National Hockey League. Unfortunately, they're getting their losing streak right off of their eight-game winning streak. Not directly after, they had a loss in there, but my article is more important than facts.
Last week saw the Sharks add two more wins to their six-game winning streak, and they had a firm grasp of a playoff spot. They still do, but they need to right the course and get a hold of things before they lose control and drift into uncharted waters. Strictly speaking they're not uncharted, the Sharks just ruined the charts when they went into said water earlier in the year on their six-game losing streak from January 3rd to January 13th. Remember that, folks? I know ... you were trying to forget. I'm not sorry.
The Sharks find themselves at the halfway mark of that losing streak, with three. They certainly don't have aspirations to match their season-high, but you wouldn't be able to tell if you watched them take on the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. San Jose went into the game with the same mindset that they've had recently: the team that scores three points will win the game, that's how coach Todd McLellan put it a few days prior.
They scored three points, with only one caveat: Chicago scored six of 'em. Four of them went to Antti Niemi, who was then pulled in the second period in favor of Antero Niittymaki, who gave up two of his own, stopping 14-of-16 through the end. Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton provided the offensive output for the night, but it wasn't nearly enough to put them ahead of Chicago's relentless onslaught.
Marian Hossa put the puck to net twice, while Jonathan Towes, Patrick Kane, Viktor Stallberg and Niklas Hjalmarsson all had a goal apiece for the Blackhawks. Patrick Sharp had four assists. The Sharks had a 2-1 lead going into the second, but gave up four goals in that second frame, and it was officially a rout.
It was only their fourth loss in around two months, so San Jose doesn't need to hit the panic button at this point. Considering the way two of these three straight losses have went, they're actually in pretty good shape. Last week's game against the Vancouver Canucks may have been the best hockey game this season. Tonight, they'll continue their road trip and take on the Dallas Stars, who are looking to rebound from a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings.
If there's one thing the Sharks can hang their hat on, it's the inconsistency of the Stars of late. They're not able to build any solid winning streak, though they are limiting their losses to the overtime and shootout variety. It's unclear as to whether Niittymaki or Niemi will be in net for the Sharks.