When the San Jose Sharks and Washington Capitals drop the puck tonight at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m. ET) it’ll mark the second game of a nine-game road trip for the Sharks and another opportunity for the Capitals to try and get things right.
San Jose’s trip didn’t get off to the right start last night getting shut out 3-0 by the St. Louis Blues. Dropping a game to one of the best teams in the West wouldn’t be so bad if the Sharks weren’t trying to hang in there atop the Western Conference with them. Times haven’t been kind of late as the Sharks have just four wins in their last 10 games (4-5-1) and they’ll need to pick things up with a frantic finish ahead of them.
This season, the usual suspects have carried the load for San Jose with Joe Thornton leading the way in points with Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Pavelski not too far behind him. With Dan Boyle and Brent Burns also dumping in points on the blue line, the Sharks are a strong team offensively. Antti Niemi and Thomas Greiss have combined to make one of the better goaltending duos in the league. All of this news should have Washington worried.
The Capitals are slumping just as badly as the Sharks are of late. After losing to the Rangers yesterday afternoon, the Caps have won just three of their last 10 games (3-4-3). Whether it’s been Tomas Vokoun or Michal Neuvirth in goal hasn’t mattered of late and being without Nicklas Backstrom has affected how well their offense performs.
We’re certainly not seeing the usual sort of action out of Alex Ovechkin of late, but both he and Alexander Semin have been good recently. Semin has four goals and five assists over his last ten games and has taken just two minor penalties in that span while Ovechkin has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in that time. They’ll need more from them and a lot more from the rest of the team to try and tackle a playoff spot.
Things continue to snowball out of control for the San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks lost their sixth consecutive game after yet another blowout defeat, this time by a final score of 7-2 versus the Nashville Predators on Saturday. Forward Logan Couture lost a tooth after taking a puck to the face in the second period.
And late in the game, Micheal Haley was given a match penalty for an incident involving Calle Jarnkrok.
The Sharks forward is now automatically suspended until commissioner Gary Bettman reviews the incident.
This incident occurred when Haley was hit into the boards by Jarnkrok. Haley then got up, sped right toward the Predators forward, dropped his gloves and delivered a punch to Jarnkrok as he tried to back away, knocking him to the ice.
Jarnkrok was given a minor penalty for boarding.
Haley was also involved in a fight with Cody McLeod early in the first period.
This has been a particularly shocking, if not embarrassing stretch for the Sharks. In a two-game trip to Dallas and Nashville, against teams below them in the standings, the Sharks were outscored 13-3.
Martin Jones allowed seven goals on 34 shots faced.
If Edmonton wins tonight, the Sharks, Ducks and Oilers will be in a three-way tie for first place in the Pacific Division.
Related: What is wrong with the Sharks?
More bad news for the San Jose Sharks.
After a slow start against the Nashville Predators during Saturday’s game, forward Logan Couture was hurt in the dying seconds of the middle period after taking a puck to the face while battling in front of the net.
Replays show Couture appeared to lose a tooth. He quickly skated off the ice and to the dressing room.
The Boston Bruins have been trending in the wrong direction of late — once again at the worst possible time with the end of the regular season in sight and a playoff spot on the line.
They entered a massive clash with the New York Islanders on Saturday having lost four straight, temporarily falling out of a playoff spot because of fewer games played.
They didn’t have Tuukka Rask in net because of a lower-body injury. They were on the road. They fell behind the Islanders early in the first period.
Despite that, the Bruins quickly came back on a goal from Riley Nash, who scored again in the third period to help his team to a 2-1 victory.
The four-game losing streak? Gone. With seven games remaining, Boston is back in the final wild card spot, two points ahead of the Islanders, who do still have a game in hand.
“We have a great mood in here this morning, everyone’s excited and pretty light and there’s no tense feel,” said Brad Marchand prior to facing the Islanders.
Back-up goaltending has been a concern in Boston this season, however Anton Khudobin shut the door after the Tavares goal, making 18 saves for the win.
The Bruins host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Last night, we asked: What is wrong with the San Jose Sharks?
Well, a day later, with the Sharks looking to avoid a sixth straight loss, the struggle continues.
After a blowout loss last night against the Dallas Stars, the Sharks have fallen behind the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-0 after the opening period.
Colton Sissons opened the scoring for Nashville.
It didn’t get any better for the Sharks.
Roman Josi walked right around Brent Burns, hitting the cross bar with his shot. Cody McLeod was right there for the tap-in to increase Nashville’s lead.