Skip to Main Content

Sharks look to match road success at SAP Center

San Jose won first two games at Los Angeles, was under .500 at home in regular season

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks had the NHL's best regular-season road record, and they continued their success away from home by defeating the Los Angeles Kings in Games 1 and 2 of their Western Conference First Round series at Staples Center.

Now comes the hard part for San Jose: winning at home.

The Sharks were 28-10-3 on the road, but they went 18-20-3 at home during the regular season and had fewer home points than all but four teams. The Kings won two of three regular-season games in San Jose but lost both at Staples Center.

Game 3 is Monday at SAP Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, PRIME, CSN-CA).

"I think we've improved at home, and I think the most important thing is we play well at home against good teams," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said Sunday. "I think if we've dropped the ball somewhere it's been against some of the teams at the bottom half of the standings. That's why my concern isn't where you guys might think it should be because we won some really quality home games against good opponents the past couple of months."

Video: LAK@SJS: Sharks take down Kings, clinch playoff spot

The Sharks started the season 5-12-0 at home but went 13-8-3 after Jan. 9. One of those 13 wins came against Los Angeles on March 28, when they clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 5-2 victory. The Sharks also had home wins against four other playoff teams during the final three months of the season; they defeated the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals and New York Rangers.

"This is my 10th year here," captain Joe Pavelski said. "The first eight we were pretty dominant at home. We've hit a little hiccup where the last couple of regular seasons we haven't been as strong, but I don't think it takes our confidence away at being home.

"We still want to be playing at home and would have liked home ice but didn't get it. It's something you don't dwell on. You know the fans are going to show up. I can already see what the atmosphere is going to be like as we skate out of the Shark Head [coming onto the ice]. It's something we're looking forward to."

The Sharks went 1-8-1 in their first game at home after road trips of two games or more during the regular season. Playing in front of what's expected to be a raucous sellout crowd should help the Sharks avoid a letdown Monday.

"We've got to use the crowd and the energy to our advantage," forward Patrick Marleau said. "Can't get overzealous and take penalties and things like that. Definitely try and harness it and use it in a good way."

The Sharks defeated the Kings 4-3 in Game 1 on Thursday and 2-1 in Game 2 on Saturday. Now they'll try to duplicate that type of performance at home.

"We've just got to play our game," Marleau said. "I think everybody knows that, no matter where we're at. Obviously we know what's worked for us on the road. Now it's just bringing that home."

View More