The San Jose Sharks’ fall from grace may soon be complete, as the team that started off the 2013 season with a 7-0-0 record is now barely clinging to the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings. After scoring three goals in each of their last tow games, the Sharks’ offense stalled on Saturday, as the team was shut out by Niklas Backstrom and the Minnesota Wild. Andrew Desjardins was unable to convert on a penalty shot in the first period, and a penalty to Dan Boyle led to a Minnesota goal in the early third period, as this Sharks team continues to see things not go their way.
The inconsistency that an offense that features Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture has shown for most of the season is inexcusable given its depth of talent. If the Sharks end up missing the playoffs, there will likely be many changes coming, but for now the focus needs to only be on how to fix the current slide. The Sharks have lost seven of their last nine games, despite a continued strong effort from goaltender Antti Niemi. A power play unit that had been on fire in the middle of the month has also underperformed recently, converting just once in nine chances over three games.
Things don’t get any easier in the coming week either – the Sharks will play the Anaheim Ducks on Monday and Wednesday and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, before hosting the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday. Three of those four games take place in San Jose, which has to be great news for a Sharks team that is 8-1-4 at home but has struggled to a 5-10-2 mark on the road.