The San Jose Sharks may have lost on Sunday, but the fact that they did so in a shootout gives them yet another point in their recent hot streak towards grabbing a spot in the playoffs out of the Western Conference.
With that point that the Sharks received in taking the game to the shootout, they have now taken points in eight consecutive games. Prior to Sunday, the previous seven had all been of the two point variety. It’s a terrific streak for a team rebounding from some midseason struggles.
The Sharks got off to one of the best starts of anyone. Their veterans up front were playing like Hart Trophy candidates, their blue line was solid, and the goaltending from Antti Niemi was superb. That early season run came to an end with a thud, as the Sharks struggled to do much of anything right for a stretch there in February and early March.
This recent stretch for the Sharks has seen a return to that dominance that they flashed earlier. They’re getting offensive contributions from up and down their roster, and they’re not allowing much of anything to be scored against them. Antti Niemi has been unbelievable lately. Prior to Sunday, his last six starts featured two shutouts and no outings in which he allowed more than two goals.
This was a team that just a few weeks ago was going to be considered a major seller at the trade deadline. They cut a few pieces loose, sure, but maintained most of a core that has at least one decent Stanley Cup Playoff run left in them.
Now this looks like a team that is ready to make some noise in the playoffs. They’re playing extremely well, in almost every aspect of the game, right now. They may have had their issues this season, but this is still a team to take very seriously when the playoffs roll around.