Remember, Todd McLellan's team has travelled the long road to the Western Conference Final in each of the past two seasons. Perhaps, that heavy schedule is catching up with key vets like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
Whatever the case, the Sharks had better figure things out in their final 18 games or they'll have a lot more rest than they want.
Here's this week's edition of the EJ Express.
Nearly three years later, Button's assessment might prove to be spot on. At least, Coyotes captain Shane Doan sees it that way.
SOG: 109 | +/-: -3
In his first full NHL season, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Ekman-Larsson, just 20, is averaging 21:33 minutes per game – ranking him second on the club behind fellow defender Keith Yandle, who plays 22:49. In 67 games, OEL has eight goals, 16 assists, 24 points and a minus-3 rating.
If Doan is right about his young teammate, I'd expect those numbers to make a steady climb north in the coming seasons.
Yzerman was particularly anxious to attack one area of organizational weakness.
"We don't have a lot of depth in young defensemen coming who are close to playing in the NHL in the next two to three years," Yzerman says. "So we really thought, in acquiring Keith Aulie (from the Leafs) that we got a player that's ready to play in the NHL. We need to get younger on the blue line and we need prospects coming in."
The Bolts also acquired another young defenseman, former first-round pick Brian Lee from the Senators, as well as several draft picks in deals for vets Dominic Moore and Pavel Kubina.
"Our defense hasn't been good enough this year," Yzerman says. "We've got to try something different. We can't just stand pat and go to the end of the season, regardless of what happens, and go into the summer thinking we're going to acquire five defensemen in the summer. That would be a tough thing to do."
SOG: 217 | +/-: 14
The No. 15 pick in the 2008 Draft, Karlsson has built a 23-point cushion on Florida's Brian Campbell in the scoring race among defensemen. The 21-year-old Swede is playing to an impressive plus-14 rating, too. At this point, he has to be considered among the front-runners for the Norris Trophy.
"He (Kirk) came in with a new attitude and an excitement for the opportunity. I think it has kind of rubbed off on our team," Staal says. "We're starting to do things better as a group and it's resulting in some good games and some wins."
Staal's personal resurgence hasn't hurt matters, either. Since Jan. 1, the Canes' top center has totaled 34 points in 26 games. He had just 25 points in his first 40 games.
The No. 2 pick (behind Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins), Landeskog earned Rookie of the Month honors in February, putting up seven goals and 13 points in 12 games. With his strong play, the 19-year-old Swede has pushed his name into the Calder Trophy race.
SOG: 227 | +/-: 22
While Landeskog might not win the rookie scoring race, he's going to finish with more shots on goal than any of his rookie peers. Through 68 games, Langeskog has 227 shots. That's 69 more shots than the next best rookie sniper, Craig Smith of Nashville. In fact, the Avalanche freshman stands No. 14 among all players in the League in that statistical category.
"I know that I'm a shooter," Landeskog said. "I play with Ryan O'Reilly and he's a great playmaker. I'm just trying to find open ice out there and I know that I have to use my shot to be successful and to score goals in this League and I have to get to the net, so I think I've found my role on this line, especially playing with Ryan."
"Statistics are funny things," Cheveldayoff said. "If I take out a bunch of the games in the early part of the season where we were just trying to come together as a team and we were very unsuccessful on the road, then our road record doesn't look as bad."
While I don't know if that's necessarily true, the Jets have split their past six road games. That might be something to build on.
"At this point, it's really about moving forward," said the first-year GM. "It's about what we can do. We had a great road game in Minnesota (a 4-3 SO win Feb. 16) and we're hoping when we get on the road again, we can pick things up from there."
SOG: 191 | +/-: 19
"There's also times where he's asking for some of my feedback because he puts so much responsibility on me. He asking me how I'm feeling, if we need days off, if we need to just do a workout instead of skate and things like that. He's giving us plenty of rest, so when we are in the game, we should be fresh and ready to go."
With a Western Conference leading 91 points, the Blues' coach-captain duo has found the formula for success.
In 67 games, the 31-year-old has totaled a team-best 28 goals and 51 points while playing to a smart plus-18 rating. In Dallas, Ryder has been re-united with former Montreal linemate Mike Ribiero and they clearly still have a nice chemistry.
Headed for the third 30-goal season of his career, Ryder seemed to take his game up a notch during the Bruins' championship run. He netted eight goals and posted 17 points in 25 playoff games.
Beyond the numbers, Ryder seemed harder on the puck and more focused on a shift-to-shift basis. He's brought that same approach to Texas and he's been an important part of the Stars' run to the top of the Pacific Division.
SOG: 117 | +/-: 0
Why the increase in his goal production?
"I don't know," said Kronwall, a first-round pick (No. 29) in 2000. "In the past, I've had a lot of chances, but this year, for some reason, the puck has just been going in."
There is one factor that he can point to that's helped his goal production
"I think our forwards are doing a great job of screening the goaltender," Kronwall said. "They are making it tough for goalies to see the shot. That definitely helps."
A first-round pick (No. 22) in 2007, Pacioretty has bounced back nicely from a significant neck injury suffered March 8, 2011, as a result of a controversial collision with big Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.
In the off-season, I suspect the Canadiens will make several changes – both on the ice and within their management group. Pacioretty, however, is going to be a big part of the club's future.