(SportsNetwork.com) - The struggling San Jose Sharks hope a visit from the Washington Capitals can help them get back on the right track, as they host Wednesday's interconference battle at SAP Center.
After ending January on a three-game winning streak, the Sharks have lost four of five to begin the new month. The 1-3-1 funk includes regulation losses in the first two of three straight tests on home ice.
San Jose lost 5-4 against Carolina to open the homestand on Saturday and then fell 4-1 in Monday's clash against Calgary. The most recent loss allowed the Flames to tie the Sharks for second place in the Pacific Division, where both clubs are 12 points in back of front-running Anaheim.
Jonas Hiller stopped 33 shots to anchor Calgary's key divisional win, while Brent Burns had the only goal of the game for the Sharks.
Antti Niemi allowed three goals on 26 shots for San Jose, which is just two points ahead of fourth-place Vancouver in the Pacific.
"We weren't good enough, bottom line," said Burns. "The puck movement wasn't there, we couldn't get it in and we gave them too much ice when they had the puck."
San Jose fell to 14-10-4 on home ice this season. The Sharks own an almost identical record on the road, where they are 14-10-3.
The Sharks aim to return to the win column tonight by continuing their dominance of Washington, which has lost 18 of the last 20 meetings in this series. The clubs met on Oct. 14 in D.C. and San Jose notched a 6-5 shootout win to push its point streak in the series to eight games (7-0-1).
The Capitals were able to end a long winless drought in San Jose last season with a 3-2 shootout win at the Shark Tank on March 22. It marked Washington's first road victory in the series since Oct. 30, 1993 after going 0-11-0 with a tie in the previous 12 encounters in Silicon Valley.
Washington will try to bounce back from a loss tonight after having a three- game win streak halted in Sunday's home setback against Philadelphia. Wayne Simmonds scored the winning goal early in the third period for the Flyers in the 3-1 decision at Verizon Center.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 33rd goal of the season for the Capitals. Ovechkin is tied with the Rangers' Rick Nash for the league-lead in goals.
Braden Holtby allowed two goals on 24 shots in the loss.
"I think the Flyers had a little bit more of a jump, today, they looked fresher than us," said Washington head coach Barry Trotz. "They hadn't played in five days. Three in four; seven in 11 for us - not an excuse."
Washington is one point behind the New York Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division and also holds a four-point edge over Boston for the first wild card spot.
The Capitals are beginning a four-game road trip tonight and will continue the swing Saturday in Los Angeles. Washington is 13-9-5 as the away team this season.