Most games of the season are unremarkable. They begin and they end with no lasting memory made in between. Most games have no impact on the course of a season.
How have the Sharks done over their past 500 minutes of hockey?
January 12th vs. Winnipeg: The Sharks won this game 2-0, but nothing much happened in the last ten minutes (which is where our 500 minutes start). Running score: 0-0.
January 14th vs. Columbus: Thomas Greiss got the victory, Andrew Desjardins was hit hard by Dane Byers in an incident that helped ignite the bad blood between these teams, Ryane Clowe and Patrick Marleau scored. Running score: 2-1.
January 15th vs. Chicago: The Blackhawks' top line scored a couple of goals and controlled the play for most of the night. Niemi held the Sharks in the game, but the Blackhawks won 4-3. Running score 5-5.
January 17th vs. Calgary: This is the game where Justin Braun scored during OT but the goal was incorrectly waived off, so the Sharks had to win the game again in a shootout. Running score 7-6.
January 19th vs. Ottawa: Brad Winchester scored the only Sharks goal in this 4-1 loss. Ugh. Running score 7-10.
January 21st vs. Vancouver: Like most games between these two teams, this one was close and crazy. The score was tied 2-2 until the teams combined for three goals in a 1:32 in the third period. San Jose lost 4-3. Running score 10-14.
January 23rd vs. Edmonton: The Oilers won 2-1 in a shootout, giving the Sharks their third loss in a row. Dark times in San Jose. Running score 11-16. I hope things get better soon!
January 24th vs. Calgary: A defensive battle. Eventually Benn "Keanu" Ferriero scored a baseball-style goal and the Sharks won. Running score 12-16.
January 31st vs. Columbus: The Sharks beat the living hell out of the Blue Jackets. Seriously, it wasn't even fair. Sharks win 6-0, running score 18-16.
February 2nd vs. Stars: Ryane Clowe came back from injury and scored, a bunch of other Sharks scored, and Dan Boyle shot the puck into his own net in a hilarious goof. The Sharks won for the third time in a row, 5-2. Running score 23-18.
Did you ever do this, you think back on all the times you've had with a team and you just replay it in your head over and over again and you look for those first signs of trouble?
So what do we have?
The good: Out of nine complete games the Sharks have won five, including their last three. Despite suffering through injuries the Sharks have managed to win more often than they lose, and in the two games since the all-star break they've looked really impressive. They've also been scoring a bunch of goals recently, which was a problem for the team earlier this season.
The bad: Out of the Sharks' five recent wins only the last two were clear victories. The teams they have beaten include Columbus twice, Calgary twice, and Dallas once - not exactly elite competition. The Sharks have lost their past four games against teams currently in playoff position.
Misery, sadness, loss of faith, no reason to live... This is perfect for you.
How should we feel about all this?
Cautiously optimistic? Hopefully pessimistic? I don't know.
As much fun as it is for the Sharks to beat the hell out of the Blue Jackets and Stars all the time, it doesn't really count for that much in the end. Unless something crazy happens the Sharks will make the playoffs, and their success will come down to how many playoff teams they can beat. We've known this since before the season started but as the regular season passes by it's tougher and tougher to think about anything else.
If the Sharks can keep scoring goals in games against better teams in the next few weeks then we can all start feeling good.
Until then keep your enthusiasm in check. Otherwise you'll just get hurt.
Prediction: The Coyotes aren't a playoff team, so the Sharks will probably beat them like 4-1 or something.