The San Jose Sharks are tied for the most points in the NHL, but their recent play and attitude aren't reflecting that lofty standing.
Hoping an overtime win in their last game gets them back on track, the Sharks look to regain sole possession of the league lead Thursday night when they visit the St. Louis Blues.
The Sharks (43-12-10) are tied with Detroit at 96 points, one ahead of East-leading Boston. The Red Wings host Northwest Division-leading Calgary on Thursday while the Bruins face Ottawa.
San Jose snapped a four-game skid with Monday's 5-4 overtime win at Minnesota. The badly needed victory came after the Sharks wasted a three-goal, second-period lead, as Christian Ehrhoff bailed his team out with a goal at 3:34 of the extra period.
"We'll take the win," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said, "but I'm disappointed. We've won a lot of hockey games, and we need to carry ourselves like we have won a lot of hockey games. We need to play with more confidence. We've earned the opportunity to play confident and be confident.
"Right now we're fragile, and hopefully this snaps us out of it. When the game's on the line, I want guys that want to be up to bat and hit the single or double that scores the winning run, rather than walking and getting to first. We need to take the challenge on a little bit more."
McLellan's team was 1-4-1 in the six games before Monday's victory, managing one goal in three of those contests and scoring two in two others.
In addition to its recent offensive problems, the Sharks have been hampered by the loss of goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who's missed six games due to an illness and a lower-body injury. San Jose has used Brian Boucher in place of last season's Vezina Trophy finalist, and the journeyman is 2-3-1 with a 3.13 goals-against average in the last six games.
Boucher made 25 saves Monday.
It's unclear if Nabokov will be back Thursday, but the Sharks are certainly hoping for his return. Nabokov is 5-0-1 with a 1.95 GAA and one shutout versus St. Louis in his last six matchups.
Boucher, though, made 24 saves in his last game against the Blues, a 2-0 road win March 1, 2008.
The Sharks are 14-1-2 in their last 17 games against the Blues, but dropped the last matchup 3-2 in a shootout Dec. 27.
St. Louis (30-28-8) is 11th in the West, three points behind Nashville for the final postseason berth.
The Blues are 6-2-1 in their last nine games and beat Dallas 5-2 on Monday, earning a key victory over another team battling for a West playoff spot.
"I liked the way that we stay hard on the puck," coach Andy Murray said. "We had some other great chances. I liked how we stayed into the game and stayed on them."
St. Louis' David Backes has been hot of late, scoring four goals and assisting on two more over the last three games. He had a goal and an assist Monday and is second on the team with 22 goals and 40 points.
Backes has three goals in the last four games against San Jose, but was held without a point Dec. 27.