Sharks snap losing skid — is this the start of a string of wins?

Snapping a six-game losing streak against a highly-competitive team — well, against any team, really — was just what the doctor ordered.

Okay fine, the Sharks have been a better road team all season. That doesn’t take away from how they played in Tuesday night’s tilt against the Montreal Canadiens, and what they did to get that win.

Joe Pavelski said of coming up short in Team Teal’s loss to the Minnesota Wild last weekend: “It’s about getting over that hump, and breaking this little funk that we’re in and start pushing forward.”

Was this that game? The one that really gets them over the hump and starts a string of victories?

It’s still a wonder with this team if they can repeat their success night after night. We saw San Jose on Tuesday, however, correct some of those mistakes that cost them during the six-game skid. If the Sharks do a couple big things on the rest of this road trip, there’s no reason why that can’t put a couple more tallies in the win column.

San Jose did several things against Montreal that they hadn’t done in previous games. For starters, they took control of the pace of the game, even after the first minutes of play clearly favored the Habs. I won’t get back into the “slow starts” conversation, but that’s how the Sharks started this contest off — not in the driver’s seat. Barclay Goodrow’s hit on P.K. Subban (which I’m sure critics are going to be talking about at least the next 48 hours) and subsequent scrap with Torrey Mitchell ignited the visiting team. Maybe that’s what this team needs during every slow start, someone to step up with the big hit to get the momentum going.

Once San Jose built up that momentum they were visibly more confident on the ice, and were aggressive in the enemy’s zone. That confidence was needed at even strength, given that the Sharks didn’t get a single opportunity on the power play all game. (Although, to be honest, that Patrick Marleau goal from Joel Ward in the first frame looked like one of the goals the two have produced on the man advantage.)

To top it all off, the Sharks got the big saves they needed at the end of the game from the guy between the pipes. Martin Jones looked his absolute best at the very end of the game, sure, but he was also nails early on when the surging Habs put 10 shots on net to San Jose’s three shots. I’ve been saying for a while now that I don’t think Jones gets enough help from the defense in front of him. However, his quickness in saving some nasty rebounds is what kept Montreal to one goal on the evening. Suffice to say, it doesn’t hurt when Jones has a performance like Tuesday night where he can greatly help out his own cause.

Yes, the losing streak stops at six. But was Tuesday the game that put the Sharks back on the right track?

We won’t know if this is the start of a winning streak or not until Thursday’s game in Toronto against Mike Babcock and the Leafs.

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