Sharks Not Only Squad Struggling With Back-to-back Contests

If you look at the way the Sharks are playing on the road, you may want to pull your hair out. 

They haven't won on the road since a Sunday night contest on Oct. 28 against the Anaheim Ducks, and there have been five road games since then with almost all of them occurring in a back-to-back situation.

San Jose had a major letdown last weekend in a back-to-back situation, when the Sharks shut out the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 on home ice on Friday, then were pummeled by the Vegas Golden Knights on the road 6-0 the following evening. 

[RELATED: Sharks need to get back on track from Vegas loss]

No team has an easy schedule, and the Sharks are never going to blame the traveling and changing time zones on how they're performing away from home ice. But is playing all of these back-to-backs, particular the road games, a lot harder than it looks?

I can't help but go back to something Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon said ahead of the team's six-game homestand. He made no excuses for how San Jose was playing away from home. Instead, he explained what makes it difficult to fix things on the road when games are played so close together.

"Sometimes when you're playing a lot of games in a small amount of time, like we do with the back-to-back, you don't really get a lot of time talk about (issues) or have a full team practice to work on it," he summarized. 

This would certainly apply to the Sharks most recent back-to-back against the Sabres and then the Maple Leafs. San Jose made similar mistakes in both games – keeping pace with the opponent but not finishing chances and sagging on special teams – and since they were traveling in between games, they didn't have time to hit the ice try to work on anything.

The Sharks aren't the only squad struggling with the many back-to-backs this season. The Carolina Hurricanes -- who have a league-high 17 back-to-backs on their schedule this season -- dropped a 4-1 decision to the Islanders on the road the day after defeating the Panthers on home ice.

The Buffalo Sabres, prior to their 10-game winning streak, lost to the Calgary Flames 2-1 in overtime on October 30 before hitting the road the very next day and getting beaten by the Ottawa Senators in regulation 4-2. 

Even the Maple Leafs, who defeated the Sharks on Wednesday on the tailend of a home back-to-back, defeated the New Jersey Devils at home 6-1 on November 9 only to hit the road the following day and get beaten 5-1 by the Boston Bruins.

Nevertheless, the Sharks can't look to how other teams are performing and see that as the reason for their road woes -- they need to find ways to win away from home. While they may have a back-to-back coming up this weekend against the Senators and Canadiens, they'll have a day in Ottawa to get situated and find a way to beat the Sens. A team who recently won the second game of a road back-to-back, no less.

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