Last week, it was expressed that the San Jose Sharks were in the middle of a stretch of must-win games. At second-to-last in their division, they needed to crush the last place Los Angeles Kings and do it convincingly to kickstart their climb to the top of the Pacific Division. It was to be a rough climb either way, a hellish ascent made tough due to many inconsistencies throughout the season.
It wasn't a terrible game on their behalf, as has been the case for many of their losses this season. They played good, fast tennis and had solid goaltending throughout, but once again found themselves falling flat in the third period of play, a maddening consistency among a season discordant. Ryane Clowe and Devin Setoguchi put the puck to the back of the net in regulation for San Jose, while Ryan Smyth Alexei Ponikarovsky lit the lamp for the Kings. Ponikarovsky's goal came early in the third period, setting up a tie game that would go through overtime and into the shootout.
Jarret Stoll scored in the fourth round of the shootout and that was it for San Jose, as they had a four-game winning streak snapped while dropping an important divisional matchup. They're not out of things yet, but fans of the team are on standby for disappointment before even entering the playoffs for the first time in some time.
That was all they had last week, and after a break for the NHL All-Star Game, they are looking to come up as something other than flat to right this ship before its taken on too much water. Coming up they've got two games against division rivals in the Phoenix Coyotes and the Anaheim Ducks, two very important affairs for the Sharks if playoffs are still the ultimate goal.
We've got four games this week and this streak will provide coverage for all of them. Check back daily, and tonight for a look at the Sharks vs. Coyotes game.