Flames face Sharks in battle between division leaders
FLAMES (17-7-3) at SHARKS (19-6-5)
Last 10 --
Calgary 6-3-1; San Jose 6-2-2
Season series --
This will be the first of four meetings between the teams.
Big story --
It's two of the West's best teams with the Flames leading the Northwest and the Sharks leading the Pacific.
Calgary has turned it on over the last couple weeks, due in large part to goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. He hasn't allowed more than two goals in his last six starts (4-1-1).
"You have to have trust in your teammates that they are going to do their jobs," defenseman Adam Pardy said. "With Miikka behind us we are pretty confident standing up, forcing teams to dump pucks, staying up on the rush and not allowing the other team too much time to make plays."
After winning four in a row, the Blues rallied for a 3-2 shootout win in San Jose on Thursday. The Sharks' power play went 0-for-5 and allowed a tying, short-handed goal with 7 seconds left in regulation.
"Our power play let us down," coach Todd McLellan said. "We had five of the greatest hockey players in the world out there and the power play let us down when we needed a goal and again when we gave up a goal. I'm very disappointed and, obviously, not very happy about it."
Who's hot --
For the Flames, Kiprusoff has been in a zone and captain Jarome Iginla is coming off a month where he was named the League's first star. And if you can find a hotter, more dangerous line than San Jose's trio of Dany Heatley
, Joe Thornton
and Patrick Marleau
, it's probably a figment of your imagination.
Injury report --
For the Sharks, wingers Jody Shelley and Brad Staubitz are out. Calgary defenseman Cory Sarich is on IR with an undisclosed injury.
Stat pack --
Sharks winger Ryan Clowe has a point in eight straight games. ... San Jose has allowed just three power-play goals in 12 home games. ... Calgary's Nigel Dawes has goals in four of his last five games.
Puck drop --
The Sharks are in the middle of a five-game homestand, while the Flames will take the ice for the fifth game of a six-game road swing. So is this a matter of the relaxed Sharks racing a road-weary Flames team?
"I don't think so," Iginla said after the Flames' 2-1 loss in Phoenix on Thursday. "It was one game. We were still in position … where we could have got points out of this game. Unfortunately, we weren't quite as good as we have been. We'll regroup. And we're not going to say that we're getting ground down or whatever. We enjoy playing on the road. We enjoy playing, period, wherever we're at."