Sharks Get Second Half Started Against Blue Jackets, With Tough Trips Ahead

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 29: Logan Couture #39 of the San Jose Sharks and Team Alfredsson looks on against Team Chara during the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game at Scotiabank Place on January 29, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The San Jose Sharks are about to play an awful lot of games in a short amount of time during the second half of their season, but first have a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. They'll wrap up the week with games against the Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes, on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. For more on the schedule and the team in general, go to Fear The Fin.

For the San Jose Sharks, it's time to really get serious. Perhaps that's the wrong way to put it, but they've got a very hectic schedule coming up and they need to be on-point on a daily basis to remain atop the Pacific Division. While they're sitting at third in the Western Conference, they're only two points above the seventh-place Los Angeles Kings for the division lead. After a five-day rest for the All-Star Break, the Sharks will play 35 games over the next 68 days.

Their first 47 games took a whopping 115 days. They've been trailing the rest of the division in games played all season, so now it's time to see if they can set a new pace and march into the playoffs stronger than last season. On Tuesday, they'll wrap up the month of January and set out on a tough February that includes a nine-game road trip over the course of 15 days, with three back-to-backs.

Before that, they've got their first game back following the All-Star Game break, as they play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets, losers in their last four outings. They're in a rough way, with all the other teams in their division qualifying for the postseason if it were to start on Tuesday. They're on a six-game road trip and have lost the first three games of it, and are a woeful 5-17-3 away from Nationwide Arena. Injuries have not helped their season, either, with injuries to guys like Nikita Nikitin, Jeff Carter, James Wisniewski and Mark Letestu all out for extended periods of time.

Following that game, the Sharks will have games on Thursday and Saturday to close out their week, against the Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes, respectively. San Jose doesn't have a ton of momentum, but still hold the lead in their division, even if they've only took home two wins in their last six. All-Star Logan Couture has played well, with three goals and an assist in his last three games, and should be full of his own confidence heading into a tough second half of the season.

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