Programming note – Sharks-Flames coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 19-12-1, 39 points, 1st Pacific Division
Flames: 17-15-2, 36 points, 4th Pacific Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***After grabbing six of eight points on their road trip, the Sharks finish off their pre-Christmas break schedule with a pair of home games against division rivals that are improved from a year ago. Calgary has been hot lately, winning seven of its last nine, including last night in Arizona, 4-2.
Connor McDavid, Todd McLellan and the Edmonton Oilers will meet the Sharks for the first time on Friday at SAP Center before the NHL shuts down for three days. The Sharks are 10-4-0 at home this season.
***Sharks forward Joel Ward will reportedly be a healthy scratch for the second time in three games, while defenseman David Schlemko will also come out. Micheal Haley will take Ward’s place on the fourth line, and Dylan DeMelo will presumably skate with Brenden Dillon on the third defense pair.
***The Flames have had particular success on the power play, scoring at least one goal with a man advantage in eight straight games. They are 13-for-33 over that span (39.4 percent).
San Jose’s penalty kill is operating at 76.1 percent efficiency in its last 16 games (35-for-46), after allowing just four power play goals against in its first 16 games (34-for-38, 89.5 percent).
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Timo Meier. The 20-year-old rookie will be making his home debut tonight, after playing in his first two career NHL games in Montreal and Chicago. Meier scored in his first game against the Canadiens, and nearly had another against the Blackhawks, hitting the post with a redirection. Linemates Joonas Donskoi and Chris Tierney are also playing better of late, forming an inexperienced but potentially dangerous line.
Flames: Matthew Tkachuk. In the first game between the two teams on Nov. 3, the rookie scored two goals – including the late game-winner – after learning earlier that morning he’d be staying with the Flames for the rest of the season rather than returning in juniors. In 30 games Tkachuk has 17 points (6g, 11a), but just one goal in his last 13 games.
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Micheal Haley – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Matthew Tkachuk – Mikael Backlund – Michael Frolik
Johnny Gaudreau – Sam Bennett – Alex Chasson
Kris Versteeg – Sean Monahan – Troy Brouwer
Michael Ferland – Matt Stajan – Garnet Hathaway
Mark Giordano – Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie – Dennis Wideman
Jyrki Jokipakka – Deryk Engelland
Chad Johnson (starter)
Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.
Flames: Ladislav Smid (neck) is out.
“I think it was actually a good thing for me to sit out one game and think about it a little bit. Full of energy again.” – Joonas Donskoi, who was scratched on Wednesday in Ottawa