Owning the league’s best road record proves the San Jose Sharks are a very good team. Their play at home, however, has left them searching for answers.
The Sharks hope to rebound from their worst performance of the season when they host the Minnesota Wild at HP Pavilion on Tuesday night.
With a chance to win their season-high fifth straight game, the Sharks instead played very poorly in a 7-1 home loss Saturday to Buffalo.
“For some reason I ran into him,” said Ozolinsh, who also scored for the Sharks. “I don’t know if it was preparation or what but we didn’t come to the game tonight. We made too many mistakes. We weren’t sharp. I needed to be a lot better.”
San Jose (15-9-4) is an NHL-best 11-3-2 on the road, but has a league-worst four home wins.
Saturday’s loss was the Sharks’ first at home by at least six goals since a 6-0 defeat to Calgary on April 12, 1996.
“I don’t know that we were ready to play mentally,” San Jose right wing Mike Grier said. “We got lucky to have that one-goal lead into the second. We made pushes and when a team pushes back like that it takes a long time to recover. They are one of the best transition teams in the league and they made us pay.”
Nabokov gave up only six goals during San Jose’s four-game win streak, and was coming off a 1-0 victory Friday at Phoenix—his third straight shutout win over the Coyotes.
The Sharks have played well lately against Minnesota, outscoring the Wild 8-2 during three straight wins in the series. Nabokov made 26 saves in San Jose’s 3-0 victory at Minnesota on March 6 in the most recent meeting.
The Wild snapped a nine-game winless streak in Columbus with a 2-1 victory Saturday over the Blue Jackets.Brian Rolston scored a third-period goal and Niklas Backstrom made 31 saves for Minnesota (16-11-2), which has won five of seven despite scoring 15 total goals in that span.
The Wild rebounded after they were shut out 5-0 at Detroit on Friday.
“We just came out flat and didn’t show any signs of life (against Detroit),” Wild captain Mark Parrish said. “Obviously, we talked about it in here and wanted to come out to prove that we are willing to work hard.”
While Gaborik is producing, two of Minnesota’s top players are struggling. Parrish has gone eight games without a goal and right wing Pierre-Marc Bouchard has no goals and six assists in his past 13 contests.
The Wild, 4-1-0 in their last five visits to San Jose, are still without center Mikko Koivu, who has missed 10 consecutive games with a cracked left fibula.