SAN JOSE - The last time the Sharks geared up to face the Winnipeg Jets, head coach Peter DeBoer had some choice words for his team, who were 4-8-1 through the first 13 games of the season at the time.
"I just think we've been a soft team through 10 to 12 games and that doesn't win you many games in this league," DeBoer said on the morning of Nov. 1. "I think as a group we're a little pissed off where we're at. We're a little embarrassed."
Since losing to Winnipeg that night 3-2, San Jose has won nine out of 11 games and has climbed out of the Pacific Division cellar. The Sharks now are back where they expected to be at the 25-game mark.
Now, they need to keep it going against a tough Western Conference rival.
DeBoer contributed a big part of the Sharks' success since their last meeting with the Jets to finally playing like a team.
"It was about getting everybody pulling in the same direction," he told reporters Wednesday morning ahead of San Jose's rematch with Winnipeg. "A lot of times when you go through those things, your natural reaction, especially for great players, is that they're going to try to fix it themselves. And that never works."
The month of November has, in fact, showcased a Sharks team that clearly is working better as a unit. Even with big players being sidelined with injuries throughout the month, San Jose has found different ways to churn out victories.
"We started to get back to playing as a group and as a team," DeBoer said. "Nothing we haven't done here in the last four years. We have a track record with this group that we know works. They just have to buy in and do it."
Wednesday's game gives the Sharks a chance at redemption after the disappointing loss they suffered to the Jets on Nov. 1.
In that game, San Jose dominated puck possession and clocked a whopping 53 shots on goal. Tomas Hertl tied the score at two less than a minute into the third frame and the Sharks kept the pressure in Winnipeg's zone, but Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck wouldn't budge. The next goal, which also was the game-winner, ended up in the back of San Jose's net instead.
The Jets now return to the South Bay playing solid hockey themselves, having gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 contests.
"They're playing well," DeBoer said. "We saw what Helllebuyck did the last time he was in here. He absolutely stood on his head and we have to be ready for that."
This game also gives the Sharks the chance to clean up their mistakes from their Monday night contest against the Kings. San Jose saw a 3-0 lead erased by the rival LA squad and, although San Jose went on to win 4-3 in overtime, the Sharks were not happy with how they came undone in the third period and let the opposition take over.
If the Sharks are going to keep winning games, especially Wednesday night against the Jets, they have to remedy those mistakes.
"We want to keep this thing rolling, we're feeling good about it," DeBoer said. "We don't like how we played in the third against LA so we need to make sure we learn from that. It's another chance to close out a team above of us in the Western Conference."