With the afterglow of the Stadium Series game fading, it’s back to serious business for the San Jose Sharks beginning Thursday night against the visiting Detroit Red Wings. For a lot of teams the “push to the playoffs” begins after the trade deadline, which arrives next Monday. For the Sharks the push is already on.
Saturday’s loss to the Kings was disappointing but it was also damaging in the standings. With Los Angeles now on an eight game winning streak the Sharks are two points behind them for third place in the Pacific Division and LA has two games in hand. But that’s just one problem. With 68 points the Sharks are a point out of a wildcard playoff spot and depending on what Calgary does Wednesday night in New Jersey that gap could widen. With only 21 games to go the Sharks have to get back on track and get on a roll. First of all they must solve their issues on home ice. Including the game at Levi Stadium last weekend the Sharks are 14-12-5 at home. They’ve lost more than they’ve won. That has to change and it starts Thursday against the Red Wings and then Saturday against Ottawa and Monday vs. Montreal. The team has to find a way to recapture the significant home ice advantage that has been their calling card at SAP Center for the past decade.
It’s looking like the Sharks battle to make the post season will continue right through to the end of the regular season. There’s a seven game road trip looming in March and the club will have to play 10 of its final 13 games away from home. But those are worries for another day. Right now the Sharks have to start their “push to the playoffs” at the arena they made so famous for being one of the loudest in the NHL. It’s time to make some noise.