ANAHEIM -- No one with the Sharks could have been happy looking at the NHL standings Sunday.
For the first time all season, the team was definitively on the outside looking in at the Western Conference playoffs. In the "goals for" column, no team had fewer than San Jose's meager 71. And if upcoming games were listed, it was a reminder that their next two games are against the soaring Anaheim Ducks in a home-and-home series that begins Monday night at the Honda Center.
Still, even after his team dropped to 1-3 on its current road trip, coach Todd McLellan wasn't ready to declare the clock is ticking loudly as his team tries to turn things around. Not when there are still 19 games remaining and 38 points on the table.
"There's a lot of games left and the teams are going to play each other. That's the thing. There aren't any Eastern teams that are involved in this," McLellan said. "Teams are going to play each other. We finish up in Anaheim on Monday. That'll be our 15th of 20 on the road and we've got a lot of home games left."
Eleven of the final 17 games are at HP Pavilion and that provides one reason for hope that doesn't sound like wishful thinking.
San Jose only has lost once in regulation at home, going 8-1-4 to this point while falling to 5-11-2 on the road. Two years ago the Sharks ruled on the road at 23-14-4 and even last year -- when the team barely made the playoffs -- their record was 17-17-7.
"I guess you can say there's been a lot of things that haven't gone the way we wanted them to this year. Winning on the road is one of them," forward Logan Couture said.
Not that the season-high, seven-game homestand that begins Wednesday isn't treacherous. Twenty-four hours after the Wednesday night rematch with the Ducks, San Jose plays its third game in four nights with the Detroit Red Wings providing the opposition.
Scoring continues to be the biggest challenge. After being shut out 2-0 by the Minnesota Wild, San Jose found itself at the bottom of the NHL with a 2.20 goals per game average. And with both Anaheim and Detroit in the NHL top 10 for allowing the fewest goals, the task doesn't get any easier.
Looking deeper at the Sharks' overall 13-11-6 record provides more cause for concern. The combined number of regulation and overtime wins is the first tie-breaker for playoff seedings and San Jose has fewer than any team in the West with eight; of the teams now ahead of it in the standings, none has fewer than 13.