That would be the Kings and ‘Yotes, who the Sharks face tonight and tomorrow. This season, the Sharks are 3-3-2 against L.A. and Phoenix, with all three wins coming in OT or the shootout. Just to recap, in 8 games against the top two divisional rivals, those rivals have gotten at least one point in every game. I thought I was being all smart when I found that, then it turns out it was printed in the Merc this morning. And I said “more teams”, because we faced yet another team with our number this past Saturday, the Detroit Red Wings. Sharks lost 2-1 in the shootout at the Joe on November 5, and the dispiriting 4-1 beatdown on Saturday night. If you listened to the podcast last week, you’d know that I predicted the Sharks would face one of those three teams in the first round (with Doug sure it would be the hated Detroit), and now we know the combined record against those three teams is 3-5-2. Not good.
So what are the Sharks to do? First of all, forget about all this number crap, and go out and win some games. These teams are all below us in the standings, and while dwelling on season records is fun (or depressing) for mere bloggers like me, it’s not going to help Setoguchi put pucks in the net. And Lord knows he needs to start doing that. Pavelski and Seto have 0 points combined this calendar year, and if reading the tea leaves helps, Malhotra is going to be on the shelf for a while. Couple that with the salary cap problems translating into Jamie McGinn flying to Boston and back twice a week, and we’ve got ourselves a bit of a scoring problem.
Second of all, we need to pick on these teams’ worst players. Right now, that’s Ivanans, Brandon Segal, and Scott Parse for the Kings, and Paul Bissonette, Lauri Korpikoski, and Peter Mueller for the Coyotes. Of course, if the Sharks insist of throwing out Shelley, Staubitz, and McCarthy, we are as suseptible to that tactic as anyone, but since the big bully is down in the dumps right now, it’s time to pick on the weaker kids.
If we look at the glass as half full right now, which is tough to do, we can say the Sharks have plenty of time to turn this boat around, and get those matchup records going our way between now and April. This week will be a big part of that.