The San Jose Sharks never fell far from the cat bird’s seat in the Pacific Division, but on November 23 they did surrender their seat to the Dallas Stars.
“You can’t take first place for granted,” said Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau
. “We were there and we let it slide away.”
This week the Sharks hope to take back the spot as they ride a hot streak into Phoenix. Team Teal has captured seven of the last available eight points and with contests Friday and Saturday, could join Dallas atop the Pacific or pass them depending on a variety of results.
“First place is where we want to be,” said Marleau.
A sweep of Phoenix and Buffalo would guarantee the Sharks being tied with the Stars on Sunday morning. Two victories and a Dallas regulation loss to Eastern Conference leading Ottawa would provide them first place all by themselves.
On the flip side, the Ducks sit just two points behind the Sharks and, with two games of their own on Friday and Saturday, are eying their won piece of first place.
Regardless of whether they can claim first place this weekend, continuing the recent play that prompted the recent three-game winning streak would be the most important item on the agenda.
“A lot of factors go into being in first place, but we need to keep playing the same way,” said Marleau. “If we do, things will eventually be taken care of.”
If the Shark do move up in the standings, they’re goal is to keep the momentum going and then hopefully provide some breathing room.
“Hopefully we’ll get there and start putting some distance in there,” said Marleau.
The Sharks won’t have an easy path this weekend as the Coyotes have dramatically improved since the Sharks swept their three November contest. Phoenix acquired Ilya Bryzgalov from Anaheim and immediate went on a winning streak and after a slow start in Buffalo, the Sabres are beginning to show why they were more than just Chris Drury and Daniel Briere.
“Any time a team has beaten you and is coming into your building, you want to make it a tough night for them,” said Marleau of facing Phoenix. “They’re looking forward to tonight and so are we. These games are huge and we’d like to come up with two big wins.”
The Sharks will play Phoenix at 6 p.m. tonight with the game available on 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.