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Following their loss to the Washington Capitals on Sunday (Oct. 29), the San Jose Sharks are now winless in nine games. While they’ve had some decent performances, most of their outings haven’t been pretty nor have they been close. They’ve struggled at both ends of the ice, and although their goaltending has come close to bailing them out a few times, it hasn’t been enough to result in a win. The Sharks are averaging one goal per game but allowing 3.48 goals against – and they won’t have any success with a ratio like that. 

Sharks’ Schedule So Far

It was easy to predict a start like this given the difficulty of the Sharks’ schedule early on. The first four games were against the reigning champions of each division in the league. They first fell to the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 on Oct. 12. The next game, Mackenzie Blackwood put on the performance of a lifetime but got no goal support, and the Sharks fell to the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in a shootout on Oct. 14. They finished off their opening homestand with a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 and the Boston Bruins 3-1.

The only matchup that showed some promise for a win on paper was their first road game against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 21. The Predators are a good team, but they’re not a powerhouse like the first four teams the Sharks matched up against.

The schedule didn’t get any easier from there as they faced the 2023 Stanley Cup finalists, the Florida Panthers on Oct. 24. Despite that the Panthers were missing some key players, notably Aaron Ekblad, Brandon Montour, and Aleksander Barkov, they were still the better team. San Jose’s Florida road trip went as expected, falling to the Panthers 3-1 before being decimated by the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-0 on Oct. 26.

They then faced off against the Carolina Hurricanes and lost for the second time in as many nights. Most recently, they had their second-best opportunity to earn a win against the Capitals, but when Alexander Ovechkin and company are on the ice, it’s never an easy night. The Sharks fell for the ninth consecutive game.

How Far Can It Go?

The Sharks have a few opportunities to get the proverbial monkey off their back coming up. However, their next game, against the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 2, doesn’t seem like a great matchup for San Jose. The Canucks are 6-2-1 and have been playing very good hockey to start the season, so there’s a good chance that the Sharks will hit double digits in losses before notching one in the win column.

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At the time of writing, the Pittsburgh Penguins rank 27th in the league standings. The Sharks play them on Nov. 4 and that might be their first real opportunity to get a win. With that being said, betting against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and company is never wise, and there’s no chance that Erik Karlsson will want to hand his old team their first win, so Pittsburgh will be playing for their new defenseman that night.

Erik Karlsson pictured with the San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Following Pittsburgh, the Sharks will play the Philadelphia Flyers who had a hot start but have started to trend downward in recent games. In theory, the Pennsylvania opponents will likely be San Jose’s best chance to get a win. If not, they may be able to take advantage of another struggling team, the Edmonton Oilers. When ESPN chose the game on Nov. 9 to be nationally broadcasted on ESPN+, they probably weren’t expecting it to be a battle of two teams near the bottom of the Pacific Division. The Sharks were expected to be bad, but the fact that the Oilers are struggling so heavily is a major surprise. 

Similar to Pittsburgh, it isn’t easy to bet against a team with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. They may be off to a rough start, but it seems certain that they’ll turn it around. The question is whether or not it’ll happen before or after they play the Sharks.

Related: Sharks Desperately Need Couture and Granlund in Lineup

It’s hard to imagine that the Sharks will go winless longer than their matchup against Edmonton – their 13th game of the season. If it does, they will be nearing a record they certainly don’t want on their resume – the longest winless streak to start a season in NHL history was the 1943-44 New York Rangers that lost 15 in a row. It took the Rangers until December to record their first victory. While it’s unlikely the Sharks will go another month without a win, it’s difficult to see when this winless streak will end. 

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