NHL on NBCSN: Sharks strive to break slump against Capitals

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign with Wednesday’s second game as the San Jose Sharks host the Washington Capitals at the SAP Center at 10:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

The month of February simply hasn’t started off well for the San Jose Sharks, who host the Washington Capitals on NBCSN tonight.

Slumping Sharks

Beginning with a shootout loss against the Edmonton Oilers, the Sharks have dropped four of five games to begin this month, including two straight losses at home. If Washington continues this trend, San Jose will squander a brief-but-key three-game homestand.

At this point, the Sharks have to know that just about every stretch means something. Losing to the Calgary Flames on Monday bumped them down to third in the Pacific Division. When you consider games in hand and other factors, San Jose’s not as far above the Western Conference bubble as the Sharks may seem, either.

That’s not to say that the Sharks have all the motivation by any means.

If the Capitals aren’t careful, they could face similar problems when it comes to bubble teams being closer than they seem. Washington seems to have shaken off a frustrating run of losses to end January, but they’re beginning a very challenging four-game road trip in San Jose on Wednesday.

The two teams played an early regular season game on Oct. 14 as the Sharks edged the Capitals 6-5 via a shootout. While they aren’t particularly familiar opponents, there’s plenty of talent to go around with the Sharks’ slew of forwards (Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau) going up against Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Washington’s expensive defensive corps.

If we get Braden Holtby vs. Antti Niemi in net, we’ll get to see a match between two goalies hoping to earn big contracts after this season.

We don’t see the Capitals face the Sharks very often, but it could be an entertaining match to close out Wednesday’s back-to-back set of NBCSN games.

(Check out this preview of the Detroit Red Wings – Pittsburgh Penguins game here.)