The San Jose Sharks had a chance to become the first Western Conference team to clinch a playoff berth Thursday. Instead, playing for the third time in four nights, the Sharks saw their six-game winning streak end with a 4-2 loss to visiting Florida.
The Sharks will try to get back on the winning track -- and clinch that playoff spot -- Saturday night when they play host to the Nashville Predators.
"Sure, every time you lose a game it's opportunity lost, but you're not going to win every game the rest of the way," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer told the media after the loss. "Two weeks ago, we were seven points back. I think we're in a pretty good spot, and we worked awful hard to get there."
The Sharks won Monday at Minnesota and Tuesday at Winnipeg before returning home to face the Panthers.
"We didn't look good," San Jose center Logan Couture told NHL.com of the Florida game. "We didn't look fast. We looked slow. Turning pucks over. Penalties. I'm sure the energy level looked like it was low, but we got to find a way to play better than that."
The Predators are 1-1-0 on their three-game California trip. They lost 3-2 Tuesday at Anaheim before rebounding with a 3-1 victory Thursday at Los Angeles.
"(There are always points in the) season where you look to build off of something, or a certain game, especially late in the season like this, where you want to start getting on a roll, and (Thursday) was one of those games for us," Predators forward Craig Smith told NHL.com. "It was great. When we go back and look at film, we're probably going to see a lot of good things ... so it was great to see."
The Predators fell behind by multiple goals in each of their previous two games before the win against the Kings, and lost both games.
"There's two ways of looking at it -- you can look down and feel bad about yourself or pick up your crap and move forward, and I think that's what we're doing here," Smith said. "We're taking some ownership in our game from what happened in Anaheim, and that's what this group has been good at the last couple years. We take ownership of the way we show up and the way we want to play, so we have to take this game forward and try to replicate it in San Jose."
Added Colton Sissons, who like Smith scored a goal Thursday: "We played the right way, we played hard from the start to finish and there were very few lulls throughout the game," he told NHL.com. "Everybody stepped up and did their job, and that's great to see. We need a lot of that this time of year heading into the playoffs, so we're really happy with the result."
The Sharks announced Thursday that defenseman Radim Simek will undergo surgery to repair damage to the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee. Simek was injured Tuesday in Winnipeg.
Sharks center Joe Thornton played in his 1,555th career game Thursday to pass Jarome Iginla for 13th place in league history.
--Field Level Media