If the Sharks had to play in the Eastern Conference, they would have a really tough time of things. This season, the East had pretty much been owning the Sharks.
My theory is that the other teams in the East noticed what happened to the Rangers back in early October when the Sharks beat them 9-2. All the other Eastern teams knew that they needed to start preparing like crazy for their games against the Sharks, to avoid similar embarrassments.
And boy oh boy, has it worked out for the East.
It was an Eastern team that handed San Jose its first regulation loss of the year, when the Bruins edged them 2-1 on October 24th. The Sharks rebounded a bit with a shutout victory over the Canadiens,and managed to beat the Senators twice in October because the Senators are terrible...but then came demoralizing and humiliating overtime losses to the Sabres and the Jets early in November.
San Jose closed out the month with victories over Eastern powerhouses Tampa Bay and New Jersey, and even managed to sneak past the formidable Maple Leafs early in December, but from there things have gone completely off the rails.
The Sharks are coming off back-to-back losses to the Penguins and Hurricanes. San Jose gave up five goals in each game, and they come back to the warm bosom of the West with their tails between their legs.
It's fortunate for the Sharks that they only have one more game this month against an Eastern opponent. Go ahead and mark down a loss for the Sharks when they play the Islanders on Tuesday, and then lets move on and focus on San Jose's games against teams more closely matching their skill level.
It's just more fair that way.
Prediction: The West is much worse than the East, so the Sharks should have an easy time beating the Wild 5-1.
Video Gamery: My 53rd-favorite video game is World of Goo! Thinking about it for this gameday article inspired me to start playing it all over again, which I suspect will become a frequent occurrence as I continue the countdown.