Programming note – Sharks-Flames coverage starts today at 5:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 43-27-7, 93 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Flames: 43-30-4, 90 points, 4th Pacific Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***Now down to third place in the Pacific Division after their latest defeat, the Sharks will try and hold off Calgary, which would pull to within just one point of San Jose with a regulation win tonight with four games left. On the other hand, the Sharks could move back into a tie in points with Edmonton if they are able to win.
“Right now we’re playing for home ice advantage every single night,” said Jannik Hansen, after the Sharks’ 3-2 loss to the Oilers last night. “That kind of creates a playoff intensity and atmosphere out there. I think it’s a good lead-in to what’s to come.”
Despite the defeat last night the Sharks seemed mostly content with their effort, as they outshot the Oilers 40-22 but were burned by a few mistakes.
“We played really well,” Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. “One of our best games of late. Dictated the pace. [Made] two miscues.”
The Sharks, who have lost seven of their last eight in regulation, conclude their three-game road trip in Vancouver on Sunday. They wrap up the regular season with a three-game homestand next week against the Canucks, Oilers and Flames, in that order.
***The Sharks did not hold a morning skate in Calgary on Thursday, so no word on the starting goalie or any lineup changes. In their last game at the Saddledome on Jan. 11, Aaron Dell – from nearby Airdrie, Alberta – took the loss with three goals allowed on 28 shots in a 3-2 Flames win.
Still, with the importance of this game and the lowly Canucks on the horizon on Sunday, Martin Jones could very well get both ends of the back-to-back after he took the loss last night.
***Calgary won 10 games in a row from Feb. 21 to March 13. Since then it is 4-4-0, including a rough-and-tumble 4-1 home loss to the Kings on Wednesday. The Flames would clinch their spot in the postseason with a win tonight, or a Kings loss to the Canucks.
“Of course, we want to get it done as soon as possible,” Mikael Backlund told the Calgary Herald. “We didn’t play our best game [on Wednesday] but we have another chance [Friday] night. We’ll just refresh and regroup.”
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Jannik Hansen. The Sharks forward has opened the scoring in the past two games, his first two goals in a teal sweater. He seems to be finding some chemistry with fellow Denmark native and longtime pal Mikkel Boedker, and his Gordie Howe hat trick on Thursday night – including a fight with Adam Larsson – was the 17th in team history.
Flames: Matthew Tkachuk. Although still just 19 years old, Tkachuk has shown he has no fear of getting his nose dirty to go with his ability to score. In 71 games, he has 46 points (13g, 33a), fifth on the team in scoring, and a team-leading 105 penalty minutes. In three games against the Sharks, the rookie has five points (3g, 2a).
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Jannik Hansen – Tomas Hertl – Mikkel Boedker
Joonas Donskoi – Patrick Marleau – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Timo Meier
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Michael Ferland
Matthew Tkachuk – Mikael Backlund – Michael Frolik
Kris Versteeg – Matt Stajan – Troy Brouwer
Lance Bouma – Sam Bennett – Alex Chiasson
Mark Giordano – Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie – Michael Stone
Matt Bartkowski – Deryk Engelland
Sharks: Logan Couture (face) is out.
Flames: Ladislav Smid (neck) is out.
“It is a race to three every night in this league and the first team that usually gets there usually wins. We've been getting to one or two too often." – Pete DeBoer