SAN JOSE – The benefit of being off since Saturday’s dreadful home loss to Winnipeg is that the Sharks had plenty of time to try and fix what went wrong headed into Thursday night’s home matchup with the Detroit Red Wings.
Conversely, they’ve had to think about that 4-1 defeat, probably their worst performance of the season, throughout the entire early part of the week.
“In a perfect world after a game like that you would like to jump right back in and get your game back to where you want it to be,” Pete DeBoer said. “We knew that that night…however we played that night we were going to have to sit and chew on it for four or five days. We made that bed, and we laid in it all week.”
It’s time to move on, though, especially considering the Sharks have had to watch as other teams in the Pacific Division have jumped ahead of them. San Jose (18-17-2) sits in sixth place, although it has multiple games in hand on the four teams it can still realistically catch.
“The break was good. We don’t get practices very often. For us to get three in a row, that’s something we were happy about,” Tommy Wingels said. “We were able to work on a lot of things. … Now it’s time to bring what we worked on and what we improved on to the game tonight.”
DeBoer said: “We addressed [Saturday], we had a couple good practices, the guys recognize it, we’ve moved past it. We’re on to tonight.”
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Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic isn’t typically a player that ends up on the minus side of a game sheet. In the last six games, though, he’s a combined minus-5, including a minus-two in the loss to Winnipeg in which neither he nor partner Justin Braun looked very good.
On Joel Armia’s second period marker, which was the first of his career and ended up as the game-winner, Vlasic allowed a pass to get to the front of the net while Braun wasn’t very physical in his own crease before the puck bounced in off of his skate.
Still, DeBoer didn’t express any concern for should be far and away his best defensive duo on the blue line.
“I think they’ve been excellent,” DeBoer said. “You’re going to have dips in the season as we go along, but I think they’ve been as consistent as anybody for us. I have no issues with their game.”
Vlasic has been on the ice for nine of the 13 non-empty net goals the Sharks have surrendered over the last four games, including on the penalty kill, which has suddenly hit a rough patch. The club has only scored nine even-strength goals over its last six games, though.
“We could pick it up as a team,” Vlasic said. “It’s not one guy on the ice that gets a minus, it’s everybody. Everybody’s got to be better five-on-five.”
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In their last seven meetings in San Jose, the Sharks are 5-1-1 against the Red Wings. They are 13-3-1 in the last 17 meetings overall, including a 3-2 win at Joe Louis Arena on Nov. 13.
In that game, the Sharks claimed the win despite a season-low 14 shots on goal.
Martin Jones will be in net, facing Detroit’s Petr Mrazek, who will be making his fourth straight start.