The San Jose Sharks should be feeling confident when they return home to face the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
The Sharks have won a season-high three in a row, most recently defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 on Tuesday to cap a four-game road trip. The Golden Knights came into the game with a 13-3-0 record compared to 5-9-3 for San Jose.
“I would say it’s (our biggest win of the year) just because we had an opportunity to win on our road trip against arguably the best team in the National Hockey League,” San Jose coach David Quinn said. “We’ve been gaining confidence throughout these last three weeks with the way we’ve played and the way we’ve practiced.”
The Red Wings, on the other hand, have lost a season-high four in a row, going 0-2-2.
Detroit had a 2-1 lead with a minute to go at the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, but gave up the tying goal on six-on-five and then lost 3-2 in overtime with 50 seconds left.
“It’s just not good enough. I think we’ve got to learn to close out games,” Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman said. “Got to just keep pushing forward and got to be a great team, not just a good team.”
Tyler Bertuzzi, who scored a career-high 30 goals for the Red Wings last season, returned against Anaheim after missing the previous 13 games with a broken hand, but did not contribute offensively. His turnover in overtime led to the decisive goal.
After combining for 20 goals in its first five games, Detroit hasn’t scored more than three goals in each of its past 11.
Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider, who had seven goals and 43 assists in 82 games as a rookie last season, has no goals and five assists in 16 games.
Dylan Larkin, who led Detroit with 31 goals and 38 assists last season, has one goal and one assist in his past four games. He has scored just once in his past six games.
“We’re getting more of a trend of not being able to score much,” Larkin said. “We’ve got to look to create more 5-on-5 and put the puck in the net more.”
The Red Wings are doing what they need to do defensively. They rank fifth in the NHL in blocked shots at 16.9 per game.
“That’s something we’ve built this year, it’s been everybody,” Larkin said of the shot blocking. “Guys are putting it all on the line. … guys that we need in the lineup, but they’ve put their bodies on the line and we’re really showing each other that we care and we want to win. And that’s about all you can control in hockey, is your effort, and how much you care, so it’s great to see every night that we’re blocking shots.”
The Sharks have the second-best penalty kill in the NHL at 91.5 percent, entering Wednesday, and they’ve converted on two of seven power plays during their winning streak to nudge themselves up to tied for 19th in the league.
“Our penalty kill has been outstanding all year, and our power play, after a tough start, has been very good,” Quinn said.
–Field Level Media