The San Jose Sharks might have had their franchise-record winning streak snapped, but their road winning streak remains intact.
|"We had that five-game losing streak, and when you're in a playoff race and you get scared of actually missing the playoffs, it gets your attention," said Jeremy Roenick. (Getty Images)
Looking to resume their winning ways, the Sharks seek their ninth straight road victory when they meet the last-place Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
San Jose (42-21-9) has played near-perfect hockey for almost a month, collecting 23 of a possible 24 points in 12 games since Feb. 21. On Sunday, though, the Sharks saw their franchise-record 11-game winning streak snapped by a 2-1 shootout loss to visiting Edmonton.
Patrick Marleau scored in regulation and in the shootout for the Sharks, who registered 49 shots - a season high and one shy of the club record.
The Sharks' recent strong play has come after a season-high five-game losing streak.
"We had that five-game losing streak, and when you're in a playoff race and you get scared of actually missing the playoffs, it gets your attention," said Jeremy Roenick of the Sharks' slide from Feb. 12-20. "Everything started going right at that time, and it just built on itself. It's an energy, and everybody thrives off it. We feel really confident right now."
On the road, the Sharks are a league-best 25-8-3. Their current eight-game win streak away from home is two shy of the club record they set from Nov. 14-Dec. 31. San Jose is the first team in NHL history with two road winning streaks of eight or more games in the same season.
"We've been doing it on the road all season," Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo said. "If we can just start doing it at home consistently, we're going to be a tough matchup for anybody in the playoffs."
an Jose has moved three points ahead of Anaheim and four in front of Dallas atop the Pacific Division. The Sharks play nine of their remaining 10 games against division rivals, including three against the league-worst Kings (28-39-6).
San Jose is 2-2-1 in the season series with both wins coming in Los Angeles, including a 3-2 victory Dec. 26 in the teams' most recent matchup.
The Sharks have made themselves at home at the Staples Center, winning each of the last four road meetings to improve to 10-2-0 with a tie there since the start of 2003-04.
Evgeni Nabokov, who made 22 saves on Sunday, has started all five games against the Kings this season, posting a 2.18 goals-against average. For his career, Nabokov - the league leader with 41 wins - is 8-5-0 with two ties, three shutouts and a 1.98 GAA in 15 games at Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is eliminated from playoff contention, but seeking to finish its season strong with nine games left against Pacific foes.
"We look at it almost like playoff games for us, trying to spoil something for these teams that are fighting for a playoff spot," goaltender Erik Ersberg said.
Ersberg made 27 saves Saturday, but received no support from his offense as the Kings lost 2-0 at Minnesota. Los Angeles fell to 2-5-3 in its last 10 games.
Anze Kopitar, who leads the Kings with 40 assists and a career-high 69 points, has been kept off the scoresheet in his last two games. However, he has five goals and 12 points in 13 career games against San Jose.