The San Jose Sharks' lack of consistency has them in the basement of a competitive Pacific Division.
It may not get any easier Monday night with a visit to the Western Conference-leading Detroit Red Wings, who have dominated the Sharks during recent regular seasons.
San Jose (12-9-4) has dropped six of its last nine games, including a 3-1 loss Saturday at Montreal. failing once again to win back-to-back games. The Sharks have alternated wins with losses in their last seven games, and haven't won two in a row since a three-game streak Nov. 11-15.
Joe Thornton has scored once in his last 15 games and has been held to one shot in three of his last four. Thornton and linemates Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley combined for zero points and a minus-3 in the loss to the Canadiens.
San Jose's previous loss was a 5-3 home defeat to Detroit (17-4-3) last Tuesday. Henrik Zetterberg had two goals and two assists to lead the Red Wings.
Rookie defenseman Justin Braun was impressed by what he saw from Detroit last week.
"Those guys have been playing together for a long time and I've watched them for a long time," Braun said. "They seem to know where they are going before anyone else does."
Pavel Datsyuk, who added a goal and two assists Tuesday, has six points in his last four games.
That win was the fifth in the last six regular-season meetings with the Sharks for the Red Wings. Detroit leads the conference with 37 points and is 9-1-2 in its last 12 games overall, but saw its four-game winning streak snapped Saturday with a 3-2 overtime loss to Los Angeles on Saturday.
"I thought we did a lot of good things tonight, to give ourselves a chance to win," coach Mike Babcock said. "We just didn't get it done."
Chris Osgood, who had missed 13 games with a groin injury, made 22 saves in his first start since Oct. 30.
The Kings' winning goal came off an in-zone turnover -- a mistake which Zetterberg attributed to the Red Wings' aggressiveness.
"We wanted to get the two points, and we didn't want to sit back and play for a shootout," Zetterberg said. "You've got to gamble a bit."
Detroit is 5-1-0 coming off a loss this season.
Jimmy Howard, who made 25 saves against the Sharks last week and has won his last four starts, will get the call to face San Jose again. He's 3-0-1 with a 1.96 GAA lifetime versus the Sharks.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every NHL game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.