First, the good news for the San Jose Sharks
: With 15 games left to play in the regular season, they hold at least two games in hand on each of the five teams immediately ahead of them in the Western Conference standings. And although they enter Monday's action sitting 11th, they could find themselves back in the top eight by night's end with a win in Edmonton and a Colorado loss to Anaheim.
However, the Sharks have plenty of work ahead of them as they finish a road trip with a pair of stops in Alberta, moving on after playing the Oilers to face one of their rivals for the final West playoff berths in the Flames on Tuesday. San Jose has posted a 2-8-3 record since Feb. 16 to not only relinquish the Pacific Division lead but plummet out of the conference's top eight altogether.
"Our performance is not where we want it to be and there's only one thing to do about it," General Manager Doug Wilson said Sunday in the San Jose Mercury News. "Go change that tomorrow."
Fortunately for the Sharks, there are still several weeks of tomorrows left with which to salvage a season that began with great promise but is now threatening to slip away. Wilson tweaked his roster during the offseason to add playmaker Martin Havlat
and talented offensive defenseman Brent Burns
from Minnesota, and after a slow start in October, the team began to hit its stride. The Sharks led the Pacific with 68 points, six clear of the ninth seed, when they traveled to face Tampa Bay. They lost 6-5 in overtime, and very little has gone right since.