At this point, no one would blame San Jose for actively avoiding home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
After all, the Sharks have the fewest home points among postseason contenders in either conference, and they've lost three consecutive games at SAP Center with an opportunity to secure a playoff berth.
It seems ludicrous to consider such a notion, but losing to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night to complete a six-game homestand would give further reason for the Sharks to be content if they remain in third place in the Pacific Division.
San Jose (41-28-6) has been far better away from home this season with its 10 regulation defeats on the road the second fewest in the league. It's been constantly scrutinized for a disappointing home record that sits at 16-18-3 following Saturday's 4-2 loss to Dallas, which came two nights after allowing six goals to an Edmonton team that ranks near the bottom of the NHL in scoring.
Opponents no longer fear coming into the Shark Tank, where San Jose is on the verge of losing 19 games in regulation for the first time since 1997-98 – current Kings coach Darryl Sutter's first of six seasons behind the Sharks' bench.
San Jose is four points behind Anaheim for second in the Pacific and has one of the league's best power plays at 22.1 percent, but it came up empty on six chances against the Stars.
“It was a game where you come back to the room and wonder why you didn't get a couple more goals out there,” center Joe Pavelski said. ''If you give our PP unit that much time, we have to get one. We have to really find a way to produce, not just chances but goals. We still be to be cleaner.''
The Sharks have split four meetings with first-place Los Angeles (45-25-5), but the Kings have won both in San Jose. They've won five of their last six visits there, including Game 7 of their 2014 first-round series that completed a historic comeback after losing the first three games.
Los Angeles dropped all three games on its road trip before returning home and beating Edmonton 6-4 on Saturday. It combined for that many goals in its previous four.
Tyler Toffoli had two goals and two assists, Jeff Carter scored twice and added an assist, and Milan Lucic had three assists in the Kings' best offensive performance since beating Boston 9-2 on Feb. 9.
“With all of the chances that we had in Minnesota and Winnipeg (in the last two games of the trip) and not being able to bury those opportunities, we put a lot of onus on that heading into (Saturday),” Lucic said. “For us, it was a great job offensively to get the goals and make it count.”
Jonathan Quick lost all three games on the trip and wasn't at his best Saturday, either. He's allowed nine goals in two starts against the Sharks this season after posting a 1.58 goals-against average in his previous eight against them, including the playoffs.
Martin Jones has a 1.71 GAA in his last 10 starts for San Jose and has been in net for each of the previous four meetings. It's unclear if coach Pete DeBoer with go with Jones or James Reimer, who has two shutouts in five starts since being acquired from Toronto at the trade deadline.
Sharks forward Joonas Donskoi is uncertain after missing Saturday's contest with a lower-body injury.