The San Jose Sharks season long eight-game road trip is down to two contests. The first is tonight as the second of back-to-back affairs, with the Chicago Blackhawks serving as the opponent. It also marks a homecoming of sorts for three Sharks who played for the Blackhawks – Ville Nieminen, Mark Bell and Curtis Brown.
San Jose currently stands 3-3 on their trek and can still bring home an impressive 5-3 mark if they play as they did in the second and third periods of the Washington contest. The 3-2 shootout victory snapped a three-game losing streak for San Jose.
“Obviously, the trip didn’t start like we wanted,” said Nieminen.
San Jose was on their way to a fourth consecutive loss, trailing 2-0, when Mike Grier stepped up and created some offense.
“Last night, we came back together after being down 2-0,” said Nieminen of San Jose accounted for three unanswered tallies. “Mike Grier made a great play to Rissmiller. It probably was a turning point for the last 20 games.”
One never knows what will spark a club, and if an 8-0 loss jump-started a big run earlier this campaign, a stellar offensive play when the team looked down and out could result in another run.
The Sharks know that things won’t get any easier in the final quarter of the season (the Sharks have 22 contests remaining).
“The games won’t get any easier,” said Nieminen. “It is a challenge each and every night and we need to win a lot of hockey games.”
San Jose knows if they play their game, they can not only catch Anaheim, but go into the postseason playing their best.
“We want to make sure we have a good start to the playoffs,” said Nieminen. “You want to be healthy and riding all the horses you’ve got. You want a good feeling and the confidence that you have a really good chance.”
San Jose will be playing their second game in as many nights, but so will the Blackhawks who fell 4-2 in Detroit on Tuesday.
Nieminen doesn’t mind the road or even the back-to-backs.
“Road trips are the best thing in hockey,” said Nieminen. “You get together with the boys and chat about life and hockey. There are no worries except for playing hockey and being on time.”
did not participate in a morning skate as the club did not have one and he will be a game-time decision for Ron Wilson. Marleau had a bought with food poisoning prior to the Washington contest.
The 5:30 p.m. Chicago game will be aired on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.