Sharks Still in Position to Dominate at Home Despite Recent Loss at SAP

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks made no excuses after their 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. They had their winning streak snapped and they weren't happy with how they played. 

To add to it, the loss came on home ice, where the Sharks expect to play their absolute best. Regardless of whether they're playing with a jam-packed schedule or coming off a whirlwind road trip – as they had before the game against Washington – San Jose expects their home game to be top notch.

"This is our home rink. We've taken a lot of pride playing here and we've played some of our best hockey at home," Brenden Dillon told the media after the loss.

He isn't wrong. Heck, nearly every team that comes into the building will agree with him -- it's often said by opposing players that SAP is a tough building to be the visiting team in. 

Even when you factor in Team Teal going through some defensive struggles at the start of the season, they've remained consistently good when playing at home, no matter how their schedule is structured or who the competition is. With much of the remainder of their 2018-19 schedule being played in the cozy confines of SAP Center, they have plenty of opportunities to improve on Thursday's performance on home ice. 

San Jose currently holds a staggering 18-5-4 record in their home barn so far through the 2018-19 campaign. Even when the Sharks have come off long and difficult road trips – and they've had quite a few of those this season – they have a 7-3-0 record in first games back on home ice. At this rate, they could easily top their home record from last season, when they went 25-13-3 at SAP Center through the regular season, with an 8-4-1 record when returning from the road.

That home record will have the perfect opportunity to be built upon given how the rest of San Jose's campaign is planned out. Starting with Saturday night's contest against the Vancouver Canucks, 14 of the Sharks last 24 games of the regular season will be played on home ice. Of those matchups, 10 will take place against Western Conference teams, where the Sharks currently hold a 23-8-3 record against.

To make things even more interesting, there's one more matchup with the Calgary Flames and two more meetings with the Vegas Golden Knights, who currently sandwich the Sharks in the division standings.

The long and short of it is that too much can't be invested in Thursday's loss against the Capitals, a game when players said afterward that they were simply "out-competed" by the defending Cup champs and were ready to move on and be better. Lucky for them, they have plenty of opportunities to be better on home ice as the last games of the season get underway.

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