“Hello, Is there anybody in there?” – Pink Floyd
Watching the San Jose Sharks the past few games, I can’t help but ask this same question.
The Sharks are currently riding a five game losing streak and if anyone is comfortable with that they are undoubtedly numb in the head.
San Jose is off to their worst December start in the shootout era and haven’t experienced a four or more game losing streak since January of 2008.
Thanks to the “extra point” that comes along with overtime/shootout losses, it is easy for some to become complacent and completely ignore what is undeniably occurring within the Pacific Division.
From the bottom up, this division out west is heading towards a much more competitive direction and the reigning division champs Sharks have a big ole target on their backs.
Three of their last five losses have come against the Kings, Stars, and Coyotes and for the first time in over a decade the Kings actually find themselves atop of the Pacific Division. The only team that may be out of the race this season are the perennial division contender Ducks, but you never know with them as they always seem to find a way to sneak back into the conversation.
The Sharks haven’t had a December this bad since 2003. That year they started the Holiday Month 1-2-2. But despite the horrendous beginning, they were able to rebound, winning five of their final six games of the year.
A huge turnaround like this is exactly what this struggling team needs in order to regain their rightful spot atop the Pacific. But how will this recent revival of their conference foes affect this?
The Coyotes are winners in six of their past seven, and they are using immaculate goaltending to get the job done. Bryzgalov has been their rock, allowing only 1.2 goals per game.
But as surprising as the Coyotes are this season, the Kings are blowing people away as well. They are 6-1 in the month of December and have won eight of their last 10 games.
The Kings are getting support all over the ice. It starts with Jonathan Quick but it doesn’t end there. Brad Richardson, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, and Anze Kopitar are adding their own offensive flare to this once defunct squad and they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Los Angeles’ recent success.
Five of the Sharks’ final seven games this month come against teams in what could quite possibly be the strongest division in the Western Conference. If they can’t figure out a way to silence this recent trend out west, they could be in a heap of the smelly stuff entering the New Year.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, their two games out of division to end the year come on the road against a Blackhawks team that the Sharks have yet to figure out and at home game against the Eastern Conference powerhouse Capitals.
With five days off to figure out what exactly is causing this ship to steer into turbulent waters, the Sharks can’t afford to come out timid against the Ducks on Thursday. Another loss could very well send the Teal Nation into complete panic mode.