When the San Jose Sharks opened their five-game homestand with a victory, they certainly weren’t planning on finishing it without another one.
After three straight home losses, the Western Conference-leading Sharks will try to snap their longest skid of the season as they host the Dallas Stars on Friday night.
San Jose has been one of the league’s toughest places for visitors in recent seasons, with the Sharks going 112-41-25 at HP Pavilion since the NHL lockout - the third-best home record in that stretch.
After starting this homestand with a 5-2 win over Ottawa on Dec. 1, the Sharks (19-7-6) were 8-1-2 in northern California, but St. Louis, Calgary and Los Angeles have all won at San Jose in the last week.
The Kings earned a 5-4 overtime win Wednesday night. The Sharks had battled back from a 4-2 deficit to tie the game, but they still lost their third straight for the first time this season, regardless of venue.
“I thought we were pretty sloppy,” defenseman Dan Boyle(notes) said. “Four goals is usually pretty good and enough to win hockey games. We were just a little sloppy. We don’t want to play that way but we’re confident we can come back.”
San Jose had held its previous four opponents to two goals apiece, but goalie Evgeni Nabokov(notes) stopped just 23 of 28 shots against Los Angeles - the first time he had allowed five goals since a season-opening loss at Colorado.
The Sharks’ penalty kill, which ranks among the league’s best at 85.8 percent, allowed two goals on five chances after killing 21 of the previous 22 opponent power plays.
“The penalty kill let us down,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “We did some uncharacteristic things. We tried to stretch our shifts and go on the offensive. That’s not the way we play. As a group we need to be sharper in a lot of different areas. I’m starting to see guys in the wrong place and that’s mental mistakes. As a coaching staff we have to correct that.”
Dallas (13-8-9) is also coming off a disappointing defeat. The Stars blew a three-goal lead in a 4-3 overtime loss at Anaheim on Tuesday, beginning a season-high five-game road trip with a third straight defeat away from home.
Brad Richards’(notes) second goal gave the Stars a 3-0 lead, which they held late in the second period. But the Ducks scored four unanswered goals, tying the game with 1:02 left in regulation and winning it with 47 seconds remaining in overtime.
“Any loss is certainly bad, especially when you had a chance to win,” goalie Marty Turco(notes) said. “I felt like we were doing things a little different in the third period. That is the way it goes sometimes. You’ve got to trust what you do out there. It is tough one to swallow right now.”
If his track record against the Sharks is any indication, Turco will likely get a chance to bounce back Friday. He was in net Nov. 12 for Dallas’ 3-2 shootout win at San Jose, where he is 14-5-1 with a 2.07 goals-against average in his career.
Nabokov, meanwhile, is 5-0-1 with a 1.39 GAA in his last seven starts against the Stars. But he gave up a pair of third-period goals and a shootout tally to Dallas last month as his five-game winning streak in the series ended.