Sharks hope to end slump against Red Wings (Jan 6, 2017)

The Detroit Red Wings are coming off perhaps their most complete win of the season. The San Jose Sharks, meanwhile, may be looking for some answers after their slump was extended with perhaps its most disappointing loss.

Meeting for the final time in the regular season, the Sharks will try to avoid their fourth straight loss Saturday night when they face the Red Wings at SAP Center.

On Thursday, San Jose (23-14-2) squandered a pair of two-goal leads in a 5-4 loss to the Minnesota Wild as Martin Jones set a season-high for goals allowed at home. Three of the five goals came a little over five minutes apart early in the third period to erase a 4-2 deficit.

The loss was only the Sharks’ fifth in regulation over 19 home games, and coach Peter DeBoer doesn’t believe it’s a cause for concern

“We’ll respond. … We found a way to lose and we’ve got to get on the other side of that,” he said.

If Jones starts, he’ll try for the fourth time to secure his 20th win. In three games since beating the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 27, Jones is 0-2-1 with a 3.37 goals-against average and .886 save percentage.

Rookie backup Aaron Dell, 4-1-0 with a 1.78 GAA and .936 save percentage, has not seen any action since recording his first NHL shutout in the Sharks’ 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 30. Dell has wins in three straight starts, turning away 77 of 82 shots.

Joe Pavelski scored a goal in the loss leaving him two points shy of 600 for his career. The Sharks captain who is second on the team in goals (13) and points (35), has 11 goals and nine assists in 31 career games against the Red Wings.

San Jose also will be looking for some payback after being blanked by the Red Wings 3-0 on Oct. 22 in its final visit to Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit (17-17-5) improved to 2-1-1 on its season-high seven-game road trip with a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday as contributions came from all around.

Andreas Athanasiou had a career-high three points (goal, two assists), Thomas Vanek scored twice and Jared Coreau stopped 34 shots to record his first shutout in his fifth NHL game.

Coach Jeff Blashill wants to see his team build off the shutout.

“Now the challenge for every player is to follow that up again Saturday against San Jose,” Blashill told the Red Wings’ official website.

One of those players who may be listening closely is Gustav Nyquist, who’s been mired in a season-long slump. Though he’s appeared in every game, Nyquist has only four goals after averaging 24 over the previous three seasons.

“I think I am getting chances, I just can’t find a way to put the puck past the goalie, and that’s something I’ve got to do a better job of,” Nyquist told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday.

Two of Nyquist’s goals this season came in the win over the Sharks in October.

During the road trip, the Red Wings haven’t scored in all 13 of their chances with the man advantage; however, they also haven’t given up a goal in all nine short-handed situations.