Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 4/9/13
(AP) - A near-perfect homestand catapulted the San Jose Sharks from a fierce fight just to make it into the NHL playoffs to a battle for home-ice advantage in the opening round. If the Sharks are going to have any hope of winning that race and finishing in the top four in the Western Conference, they are going to need to take the momentum they built during their recent seven-game winning streak and bring it out on the road, where they have had problems all season. San Jose (20-11-7) left Monday for a four-game trip that begins Tuesday night against Columbus. The Sharks will play six of their final 10 on the road, where they're 6-10-2. "There's been a certain way we've played since we've been home," forward Joe Pavelski said. "It's been a fairly simple game. On the road that's one of the things you focus on, keeping it simple, keeping the crowd out of it. Don't kill yourself with turnovers and stuff. We did that pretty well here while we were at home. Let's try to take that formula on the road." The Sharks turned their season around when they followed a win at first-place Anaheim with six straight at home to go from ninth place to fourth in the Western Conference. Then just when it seemed like they could do no wrong, the Sharks blew a pair of two-goal leads in the homestand finale against Dallas on Sunday and fell 5-4 in a shootout, missing a chance to post the longest perfect homestand in NHL history. San Jose leaves home in fifth place in the West, one point behind Los Angeles with one game in hand over the Kings. The Sharks have a solid cushion over ninth-place Phoenix, giving them some margin for error in terms of making the playoffs. "We jumped up a few spots in the standings," forward Tommy Wingels said. "We knew this homestand was important. In the big picture we're happy about it but there's a bitter feeling right now. There are things we need to clean up and move forward." With defenseman Brent Burns moving up to forward recently to combine for a productive line with Thornton and Marty Havlat, and Pavelski dropping to the third line to add depth, the scoring was spread out during the club's seven-game run, with 12 players getting goals and only Pavelski scoring more than three. "I think we're playing the right way right now, give or take segments of games where we let it get away from us," coach Todd McLellan said. "Right now we're playing the type of hockey that allows us to win consistently. At the beginning of the year, scoring five or six goals a night, we looked like the Globetrotters there for a while ... when everything was going our way. "We weren't going to continue playing that way. I think we're playing a better brand of game right now. That sets us up for success." Trade-deadline acquisition Raffi Torres made an immediate impact in his first game with San Jose on Sunday, assisting on two goals and delivering the hard hits than made him reviled in San Jose when he was with the opposition. He teamed well with Pavelski and TJ Galiardi in what the Sharks hope will be that effective third line that has been lacking in past postseasons. "He had a lot of energy out there, he was throwing his weight around," Pavelski said of Torres. "He got a few pucks to the net. A lot of good things, simple to play with. Goes in straight lines. Obviously, it's big for our team. He brings speed. He can play." They'll take on a Blue Jackets club that's seen its playoff hopes take a hit with back-to-back losses. Columbus (16-16-7) is in 12th place in the West, four points out of eighth, after falling 3-0 at home to Minnesota on Sunday. The Blue Jackets had earned points in 16 of 18 games before a 3-1 defeat at St. Louis on Friday preceded the latest loss. Columbus had won four straight at home and gone 9-0-3 in its past 12 at Nationwide Arena. "It's a blow," coach Todd Richards said of the defeat that opened a three-game homestand. "We know what's ahead of us. The players have talked, we have talked, about the importance of these home games." Marian Gaborik made his Blue Jackets home debut and recorded four shots on goal while leading Columbus forwards with 21:44 of ice time. "We have to stay positive," Gaborik said. "We have nine games left. We'll do everything we can to be in the hunt." While the Blue Jackets have struggled to score in their last two games, they didn't have much trouble in the past two meetings with the Sharks - both in Columbus. The Jackets won 6-2 on Feb. 11 and 6-3 on Feb. 21, 2012.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

White Sox fan wears a fantastic taped-up Chris Sale jersey

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance

Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery


Eagles want Carson Wentz to be 'starter ready' Week 1

Report: 49ers concerned Anthony Davis will quit again

Did Manning hurt NFLPA's case in HGH investigations?

Report: Steinbrenner won't allow fire sale, wants to make playoffs

Report: Dion Waiters agrees to one-year deal with Heat

Report: Junior Galette out for season with torn Achilles

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

Kevin Durant’s OKC restaurant will be closed, rebranded

Lamar Odom said to be held back by one 'toxic friend'

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

Michael Vick: I used to feel I was 'dominating too much'

WATCH: Astros, Rangers minor leaguers get into brawl

A too early preview of UEFA World Cup 2018 qualifying

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker