SAN JOSE – The first time the Sharks faced off against the Senators this season, they were in the middle of their longest losing streak this season and were having trouble finding consistency. Since that game, things have certainly changed.
After Ottawa handed San Jose their fourth straight defeat and the team had a closed door meeting, the Sharks began righting the ship – offensively, defensively, and between the pipes. In the 19 games since falling to Ottawa 6-2, San Jose has gone 14-3-2.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was asked about that loss on Saturday morning as the team prepared to play the Senators for the second and final time this season. DeBoer told the media there were many things that went into the team turning things around after that defeat back on Dec. 1.
“I think it’s a little much to say it was one meeting or one thing,” DeBoer said. “I think bottom line is, you have a good group of professionals and a talented team that wasn’t playing well and just had enough. It was like ‘rock bottom, and that’s enough.’”
DeBoer admitted, though, that he felt the group needed to hit that low point in order to really get their game in order.
“They knew how we had to play in order to have success and up until that point we weren’t prepared to fully invest in that type of game,” he said. “Sometimes you have to hit a rock bottom in order to bounce off that and get in the right direction. I think that’s what happened.”
Of course, the player who has made the most talked-about leap has been former Sens captain Erik Karlsson, who has been an unstoppable force for San Jose in that 19-game span. DeBoer acknowledged No. 65 had many adjustments to make both on and off the ice when he first came to San Jose, and that “he’s got it all figured out” now.
The adjustments the Sharks as a whole have made to their game came at the right time, too, as the teams around them in the Pacific Division began heating up. San Jose had one of their biggest successes against a division rival just on Thursday evening, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights and taking over second place in the Pacific.
DeBoer said he was happy the Sharks were playing their “do-over” game against Ottawa on the heels of the win over Vegas.
“I’m actually glad we have something like that tonight,” DeBoer said, “because you’re coming off an emotional win in Vegas and this is always a little bit of a trap game – the game after a game like that on the road. We do have that motivation there and we have to use that.”