SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 28: Goaltender Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks blocks a shot in overtime against the Vancouver Canucks at HP Pavilion at San Jose on December 28, 2011 in San Jose, California. The Canucks won the game in overtime 3-2. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
The San Jose Sharks are still right near the top of the Pacific Division, and have a full week of games ahead, including matchups against the Canucks, Ducks, Blue Jackets and Capitals. They're trying to avoid a lengthy losing streak after dropping two straight last week. For more on the Sharks, head on over to Fear The Fin.
The San Jose Sharks are riding a two-game losing streak and sorely need to get back in the win column, as the Pacific Division remains an exceedingly tight race. They've dropped two-straight games by a 3-2 margin, despite out-playing opponents in that span, and have a week full of games ahead. They've got two road games before heading back home to the HP Pavilion to close out the week, hopefully with four more wins and a Pacific Division lead.
As it stands right now, the Sharks share the division lead with the Los Angeles Kings, thanks to the fact that they picked up a point in an overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks in their last outing. The Dallas Stars trail slightly with one less point, while the Phoenix Coyotes are just two points back. Needless to say, it's a tight race, with only the Anaheim Ducks not truly in things, down almost twenty points of the leading Sharks.
On Monday, the Sharks will take on the tough Canucks once again, this time on the road, after losing to them at the HP Pavilion on Dec. 28. But that was a whole year ago, remember! They can start anew, and kicking things off with a win on Jan. 2nd would be as good a start as any. Who knows, maybe they'll help out some former teammates in Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley, who play for the Canucks' rivals, the Minnesota Wild.
After a day off, they'll then take on the Anaheim Ducks, a team the Sharks haven't beat this season, yet sit firmly at the very bottom of the division. There's really no excuse, no explanation as to why San Jose has struggled against the Ducks this season, so there's not a whole lot to be said about this game. The whole team is taking a "just get it done," approach this time around.
On Thursday, the Sharks will return to the HP Pavilion and host the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are doing well offensively, but still losing an awful lot of games. What started as a promising season has quickly turned into more of the same for the Blue Jackets but again, they do have a chance to potentially get ahead early and put the Sharks behind if San Jose doesn't have strong play from Antti Niemi, or whoever happens to be in net that night.
Finally, to close out the busy week, the Sharks will take on the Washington Capitals on Saturday, also in San Jose. The Capitals are a team that score on you at any time and in very large trunks. A complete game will be required in that outing.
With a ton of hockey left to play, this isn't the most crucial of weeks, but with a two-game losing streak and the most competitive division in the NHL, the Sharks need to be the team that distances themselves from the pack. Stay tuned for previews and recaps of each of the games.