On February 3rd, the San Jose Sharks had 64 (of 98 possible) points; alone atop the Pacific Division, and comfortably in 3rd place in the Western Conference through 49 games.
On March 20th, the San Jose Sharks have 82 (of 146 possible) points and now sit in 4th in the Pacific Division and 10th in the Western Conference through 73 games.
What the heck happened?
To put it simply: the 9-game road trip in February exposed this team’s lack of mental toughness. After earning only 5 of the 18 possible points on the road trip, the Sharks have not been the same team.
The devastating OT loss in Tampa was the turning point of the season. During the game, Doug Wilson acquired F Dominic Moore, and Murray went down after being hit in the throat with a puck.
Since this game, the team’s chemistry has been obsolete, and they are failing to play with any passion through their fight towards the playoffs. Moore just cannot seem to find his niche with the team and the shake up in D lines has left the team flustered in their end of the ice. The confidence flew out the window after losing the next 5 of 6 games. The Sharks have not been able to recover since. The doubt this team plays with night in and night out is blatantly obvious, and the team desperately needs someone to step up and light a fire under these guys.
To add insult to injury, the trade of Jaimie McGinn has not benefitted the Sharks. McGinn has been a force to be reckoned with for the Avalanche as he leads their team in goals over the past 5 games. Winnik has one point for the Sharks in 12 games…
Ironically, the Sharks can only recover from that 9-game road trip in their remaining 9 games of the season. They need to find chemistry and need to find it fast.