The San Jose Sharks rebounded from two bad road losses in Southern California over the last week to beat the Edmonton Oilers on the road tonight in the overtime shootout, escaping with a come-from-behind, 4-3 win.
San Jose trailed 3-1 with about 16 minutes left in the game, but Logan Couture and Tommy Wingels scored to send the game to overtime, and in the eventual shootout, Couture and Dan Boyle netted goals for the Sharks -- and the two points in the standings.
This much-needed resiliency has been missing for San Jose this year, but the big comeback in the last period -- and even overcoming a 1-0 deficit in the shootout itself -- might be just the boost the Sharks need to snap out of their mid-season funk.
After starting the season 7-0-0, San Jose had lost 16 of their subsequent 21 games this year. With tonight's win, the Sharks solidified their tenuous old on the final playoff slot in the Western Conference.
With 32 points, San Jose is two points ahead of both Phoenix and Columbus, and the Sharks have an extra game to play. Dallas and Edmonton are three points behind now.
This was only San Jose's fifth road win of the year, and considering they won their first two games on the road in 2013, it's been a big grind to score -- and thus, win -- away from HP Pavilion.
This big win, on the road, facing a huge hole late, can only be a big positive for the Sharks going forward.
San Jose has two more games on this road trip: Minnesota and Anaheim. They then return to their comfort zone at home for seven straight games, and the Sharks' 8-1-4 home record is one of the best in the league.
But they can't rest on this win, of course -- that's the team's big problem: coasting. They may have out together a great 65-minute-and-then-some victory tonight, but it means nothing when they take the ice against the Wild on Saturday.
The three days' rest will do goaltender Antti Niemi some good: he got the win tonight, but he gave up three goals on only 27 shots. He's been breaking down lately, and the Sharks need to score more consistently to take the pressure off him.