San Jose travels to Anaheim tonight to take on their hated-rival Anaheim Ducks.
Of course, the Sharks can always find other ways to win, like great goaltending or scoring six goals again. However, playing the Ducks is like playoff hockey, and it's going to be the small things that count.
If the Sharks are going to dominate the Ducks this year as they did the last, they'll have to keep their focus on three small things that will make a huge difference.
Teemu Selanne is one of the best power-play performers in hockey history.
To make matters worse, the current Sharks squad has been the worst penalty-killing team in San Jose in recent memory.
The Sharks have decent enough defensive talent to turn it around. But to turn it around by game two of the season, however, is a lot to ask.
If the Sharks can blank the Ducks power play, they will be one step closer to dominating the Ducks.
Anaheim's first line is especially deadly when they get the puck deep and grind away.
It's not that they just wear down the defense on the boards; it's that while doing so, they have the talent to generate chance after chance on net.
The best way to prevent this is to slow down the Ducks in the neutral zone.
That's going to mean strong back-checking and finishing your checks on the fore-check and in center ice.
If the Sharks can keep the Ducks from building up speed on the attack, the puck movers on each defensive pairing (Boyle, Burns, Demers) should have an easy time breaking out of the zone on a counter attack.
Anaheim is coming off a European trip and is still adjusting from the jet lag.
There are reports that the players are having problems sleeping.
The puck drops at 7:00 pm on the West Coast, which is 4:00 am on the Ducks body clock.
That means the Ducks will want to be sleeping, and it's up to the Sharks to turn their dreams into nightmares.
The Sharks can do that by hitting the Ducks hard and hitting them often.
In short, it will be a return to old-time hockey that will get it done against the Ducks.
By limiting their speed, having a strong penalty kill and physically dominating the game, the Sharks should have no problem taking their second game of the season.
Even if the sharks don't win this game, it would still be fun to watch if the third key of being brutal was adhered to.
There are sure-fire sparks that fly every time these two teams take the ice.