February 27, 2015

The San Jose Sharks won five home games over the season's first three months and looked more like bait than the predators they'd been in a place dubbed the Shark Tank.

Now they're winning everywhere.

San Jose seeks a fourth consecutive home victory and season high-tying sixth straight overall Monday night when it faces an Ottawa Senators team looking to win back-to-back games for the first time in six weeks.

The Sharks (23-18-2) have climbed into third place in the Pacific Division by extending their surge with two wins at the SAP Center - 2-1 in a shootout against Edmonton on Thursday and 4-3 in overtime versus Dallas on Saturday.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored twice and Chris Tierney had a goal before Tomas Hertl beat the Stars 1:12 into the extra session. San Jose is in the midst of playing six of seven at home, which could have been seen as daunting after a 5-12-0 home start.

"I think everyone just has the right mindset," Tierney said. "Everyone is positive when we come in here. I think we're having a lot of good starts at home right now and that's been a big help. The guys are having fun. We're just carrying the momentum right now."

Hertl has three goals and three assists over the last five games, and Joe Thornton's assist Saturday gave him 13 along with five goals over his last 14. His next assist will pass Stan Mikita for 17th place on the all-time list.

"You just have to find a way to win," Vlasic said. "We've put a couple in a row. We have to keep it rolling. We have teams to catch if we want to secure a playoff spot. We're far from it, but it's good right now."

The Eastern Conference playoff race is more jumbled with teams switching spots almost daily, making Ottawa's 3-6-0 stretch more disappointing. The Senators (21-18-6) are making the fourth stop on a five-game trip after scoring four times in the third period Saturday to overcome a two-goal deficit and beat Los Angeles 5-3.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Bobby Ryan and Mika Zibanejad had a goal and an assist apiece for Ottawa, which hasn't won two straight since beating Chicago and the New York Rangers in early December. The Senators are 3-10-1 on the road since starting the season 7-2-1.

"We showed a lot of resiliency," said Alex Chiasson, who scored after being a healthy scratch for the previous four. "Our guys had a lot of jump. Maybe the whole 60 minutes wasn't the way we wanted to play, but we found a way."

Craig Anderson picked up his 200th victory by making 30 saves against the Kings, but he's just 2-4-0 with a 3.33 goals-against average since Dec. 29.

"We were desperate for a win, and we found a way to get it done," Anderson said. "We dug deep in the third, got some good hard plays by our guys and got a little bit of puck luck. We were able to get back in the game and take it over."

Anderson was in net Dec. 18 when the Senators scored three times in the third period of a 4-2 victory over San Jose for their third straight win in the series. Ryan had a goal and an assist in that contest.

Martin Jones had that night off for the Sharks but could be in goal for this one. He's won four straight starts with a 1.95 GAA.

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