A team trying to stay atop its conference normally might not be happy to have 60 percent of its remaining games away from home.
The San Jose Sharks, however, probably don’t mind it that much.
In the second of a six-game trip, the Sharks will try to earn their eighth straight road win Saturday night against the Nashville Predators.
San Jose, winner of 18 of 23 overall, has pushed clear of Chicago in the Western Conference and is battling Washington for its second straight Presidents’ Trophy. The Sharks, though, will play 15 of their final 25 games on the road, including their third six-game trip this season March 14-23.
San Jose (37-11-9) has lost once in its last 11 games on the road and is on its longest win streak there since a run of nine straight victories from Feb. 21-March 18, 2008. The Sharks set a franchise record with 10 consecutive road wins earlier that season, two shy of tying the NHL mark.
Perhaps that’s why San Jose doesn’t seem too bothered about playing exclusively away from home before the Olympic break.
Patrick Marleau(notes) didn’t wait long to get things going with his career high-tying 38th goal just 21 seconds into the game. Ryane Clowe(notes) added another score a little more than 7 minutes later as the Sharks bounced back from a home defeat to Detroit two nights earlier.
“You want to get those wins early because as a road trip goes on, you can get a little bit weary,” Marleau said. “I think everybody is excited. We have a good chance to buckle down and kind of just let it all out.”
San Jose fell behind by three midway through the second period of its previous trip to Nashville, a 4-3 loss Nov. 17. A week earlier, San Jose beat the Predators 4-3 at home as Dan Boyle(notes) scored the go-ahead goal in the final minute. Boyle has missed the past six games with an upper-body injury but is expected to return sometime during the trip.
San Jose, which has dropped two in a row in Nashville, will face a Predators team that’s earned five of a possible six points on its four-game homestand.
In Thursday night’s 5-3 win over Colorado, Patric Hornqvist(notes) had two goals and an assist in the second period to help Nashville (31-21-4) pull away. Jason Arnott(notes) finished with a season-high four points, including his second goal in three games.
Evgeni Nabokov(notes), one of eight Sharks headed to the Vancouver Games later this month, will likely face the Predators for the first time this season. He had won five straight starts against Nashville before a 3-2 loss March 26.
Seven of the past eight matchups between the teams have been decided by one goal.