Just a few days ago, the San Jose Sharks were riding a six-game win streak.
Now, suddenly, they have a two-game losing streak to ponder, and since both losses were shutouts, perhaps the Sharks to find their teeth fast tonight in Calgary as they take on the Flames.
On Monday, San Jose dropped just their third home game in regulation this year, losing 1-0 to the Los Angeles Kings. This wasn't a surprise, as the Kings are very good defensively, and the two teams often play tight contests.
But last night's 3-0 loss in Edmonton was pretty bad, all things considered. The Sharks outshot the Oilers by a whopping 32 (!) shots -- and still lost.
That's just unfathomable. But it was also typical: trailing 1-0 entering the third, San Jose got outscored again in the third period, giving up two goals on just 11 shots.
Perhaps Wednesday night can be written off as an anomaly of sorts (even if diehard Sharks followers know better). After all, Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens set an National Hockey League regular-season record for saves in a shutout (59).
To wash away the stains of these two losses, the San Jose bunch has to win tonight in Calgary. The Sharks' 15-11-3 road record isn't super, but the Flames have a 10-14-3 record at home this year.
If San Jose can win tonight, it sends them back home for their final four games before the Winter Olympics break with some momentum.
And the Sharks will need that momentum as they face Chicago (33-10-13), Philadelphia (26-22-6), Dallas (24-21-8) and Columbus (26-23-4) in that four-game homestand. None of those games is a gimme, even at home for San Jose.
Thus making tonight's game in Calgary all the more important, and as the second game of a back-to-back scenario, the Sharks need to find the energy to score and win.
Clearly, they can get shots on goal: San Jose leads the NHL in shots on goal (1904), so they will get their scoring going at any given time.
But it's that third-period defense that still is problematic -- it would have been a lot "easier" for the Sharks to get to overtime last night in Edmonton if they hadn't surrendered the two superfluous tallies in the third period.
San Jose's worst offensive period is the third, so when they're getting outscored in the third period on the season, it's doubly bad for their chances in winning games like the one last night.