SAN JOSE -- Returning to the road, the Sharks are entitled to feel good about life after a 5-0 homestand featuring three straight wins over Western Conference powers -- the Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks.
"They weren't Picassos, but show me one that anybody wins against the top teams in the league," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said before his team's plane left for Toronto on Monday. "I don't think you'll find it."
But enough about the past.
Because right now, McLellan and his players say, their attention needs to be on the future. And that starts with a four-game trip that begins Tuesday against the Maple Leafs and continues with stops in Pittsburgh, Carolina and Minnesota.
"Where we don't know as much about the Eastern Conference, we do know we're facing some pretty darn good teams, and the schedule isn't easy," said McLellan, whose team sits atop the Pacific Division. "The task doesn't get any simpler."
The trip includes another three-games-in-four nights stretch with the added burden of travel.
"Everybody," the coach added, "has to continue to pull on the rope."
One thing the Sharks can improve is their ability to preserve a lead, as failure to do so ended up with the Kings and Ducks each picking up a point San Jose could have denied them.
But McLellan did not sound overly concerned.
"Leads are hard to keep in the league," he said. "I really believe that's because there's so much parity. In the past, you'd be able to get a lead and kind of just cruise along."
The trip's marquee matchup comes Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are running away with the Metropolitan Division. That night, the Sharks face the NHL's two leading scorers, Sidney Crosby with 36 points and Evgeni Malkin with 35.
Before that, though, they face a Maple Leafs team that started the season with six wins in its first seven games but has struggled lately with only one victory in its last six.
Toronto, of course, is considered the center of the English-speaking hockey universe. The Sharks have seven players with roots in Ontario, and each is likely to have a delegation of family and friends on hand.
"I'm excited to go back there," said Logan Couture, who grew up in London, Ontario, about 105 miles west. "I've only played there once."
As a Shark, that is true -- San Jose's last visit, a 2-1 win on Feb. 23, 2012. But Couture also won a skills competition at the Air Canada Center at age 10, winning the opportunity to sit on the Leafs bench during an intrasquad game.
The only Shark who grew up in Toronto is forward Matt Pelech. With Toronto carrying two heavyweight enforcers on its roster -- Colton Orr and former Shark Frazer McLaren -- it's a better than average chance Pelech could be in the lineup.
"That'd be awesome," Pelech said. "But that's not my decision, and I've just got to be ready to go when called on. I'm more excited to see my family. I haven't seen my family in a while, and I think that'll be nice."
Even Sharks born in the United States can find extra incentive for games in Toronto.
"You play for the guys that are from there," defenseman Justin Braun said. "They're going to have family there, and you don't want to let them down."
The Ontario players can return the favor at the end of the trip Sunday when the Sharks face the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, Braun's hometown.
Sharks (18-3-5) at Toronto (14-10-3), 4 p.m. CSNCA