Sharks Gameday: Learning and Hoping
@ 5:00 PST
43-18-10, 96 points 22-42-7, 51 points 2nd in Western Conference 15th in Western Conference
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The last time San Jose Sharks visited Edmonton, they were in a somewhat similar mood. They arrived to Canada after a loss to Chicago Blackhawks at home. Yes, that loss. Sitting on my couch while eating Thanksgiving leftovers, I remember watching that game and losing hope by the minute, especially after the Oilers scored two quick goals to open the 3rd period to make to game 3-1. You may remember what happened next, as Marleau completed his hat trick with a shorthanded goal with 86 remaining in the game, and the Sharks went on to win that game in a shootout. This was a beginning of a three game winning streak.
If you're thinking that the current streak is one of the worst ones in the recent history, you just may be right - it's actually the second longest winless streak. Here is a breakdown of the longest winless streaks of the past six seasons.
Note: When there were more than one streak of the same length in a season (as was the case with those streaks lasting four games long), I looked at the one that happened closest to the playoffs.
|Season||Longest Streak||Goal Differential|
I bet we remember most of these streaks. Out brains tend to retain a larger amount of negative information. You will, of course, remember the dry November of 2005, when the team went winless in all the 12 games it played that month. That streak could be what forced Doug Wilson to make a deal with Mike O'Connel that brought Big Joe here (I still wonder who called who). You may also remember the 5 game losing streak two years ago (also all mostly on the road), right around trade deadline as Brian Campbell joined the team.
One pattern that emerged from all these losing streaks is that as they ended, the Sharks came together as a team and in almost every instance played their best hockey of the season. Back in 2003/4, the losing streak was followed by the winning streak of 5 games, with 15-7 goal differential. When Joe Thornton joined the team on December 1, 2005, the Sharks won 6 in a row, scoring an impressive 29 goals (after scoring just 23 in the previous 12). Two years ago, following a lackluster road trip that included losses to the Islanders and the Oilers, the Sharks set the new team record and won 11 in a row. Finally, this season, the Sharks were already winless for 5 in a row back in December, and once they won, they ended up winning 8 in a row.
Every losing streak eventually ends. This is still the team that only lost 18 games in regulation out of 71 this season (let that number sink in for a second). If history is of any indication, once the Sharks jump through the hurdle of that first win, they'll come out as a better team than they were before - more unified, more focused, more hungry and more determined. Is there a better time to overcome all these demons and get the team back on track than now?
Prediction: Sharks finally win. Who cares about how.