If the San Jose Sharks were ever going to break out of their slump (4-10-1), the planets were aligned perfectly Tuesday.
The Edmonton Oilers came into town with the worst road record in the league (9-21-2—a .313 point percentage).
They had played the night before in Southern California, while the Sharks had their first two-day break since mid-February (and last in March).
Thanks to the struggles at the top of the Pacific Division, a win could have put them in first place. A loss could have meant a drop to as far as fourth place in the division and 10th in the conference.
The Sharks split the difference, falling in a shootout and dropping to third and eighth, respectively. They won 16 more faceoffs and were even in giveaway-takeaway differential, but they only out-shot the Oilers 30-26. Edmonton had 10 more hits and nine more blocked shots.
San Jose appeared to be in the driver's seat after their own lucky bounce countered the one that started Edmonton with a lead 10 seconds into the game. But another weak follow-up shift led to a tying goal less than a minute later, and the Sharks were back into a dogfight.
In other words, a team with nothing on the line out-worked a more talented team with everything on the line. A team that cannot win under those circumstances needs changes before it can win the Stanley Cup.
Changing behavior is tough, and it helps to have a 12-step program. (Note: because some steps duplicate each other, there are only 12 slides in this piece when you include the introduction.)