Back-to-back may benefit Sharks

Back-to-back may benefit Sharks
March 13, 2012, 1:50 pm
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CALGARY The Sharks have precious time to rest between now and the end of the regular season.

Theyll invade Calgary on Tuesday night, less than 24 hours after beating Edmonton on Monday, 3-2. Its one of three remaining back-to-back situations left on San Joses schedule, and after the brief flight from Edmonton late Monday, the team will enjoy an opportunity to get a little more sleep after the coaching staff canceled the morning skate.

While a breather is typically welcomed this late in the season, it might actually benefit the Sharks to get right back at it tonight at the Saddledome. The Sharks snapped a five-game losing streak against the Oilers, and is was evident in the locker room at Rexall Place that there was a least a temporary sense of relief as the Sharks got a rare moment to enjoy a win something theyve done just three times in the last 14 games (3-8-3).

RECAP: Sharks snap skid with 3-2 win in Edmonton

Getting right back out on the ice on the wings of those good feelings might be good for them.

Yeah, I want to keep going here, Dan Boyle said after the Oilers game. I want to get back to where we need to be. The wait sucks, we need to play and play these games, and get some wins.

I posited that to the captain, as well.

I hope, well have to see tomorrow night, but I hope, Joe Thornton said. I hope we take what we had in this game and carry it over tomorrow. The Sharks are Flames are right beside each other in the standings, so its going to be a battle.

Thornton is right. While the win against the Oilers was nice, the Calgary Flames are one of a number of teams the Sharks will be battling with down the stretch to make the playoffs. Ninth place San Jose is one point ahead of the Flames, with one game in hand, headed into tonights showdown.

The Sharks could climb as high as seventh or fall right back down to the 11th spot, depending on how tonights action shakes out. The Los Angeles Kings host the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, while Dallas, four points up in the Pacific Division, is in Minnesota.

Were going to go there and play, and we know theyre going to be prepared. Its a big game for them, as well, Todd McLellan said on Monday night. Wed like to bottle this up, get some rest, and put the work boots back on.

Its unclear this morning which goaltender McLellan will go with against the Flames. Antti Niemi has started the last seven games for the Sharks, but it wouldnt be shocking to see him get the call against the Flames, too. Traditionally, Niemi plays his best hockey when hes in the net over and over again, as evidenced by his 34 straight starts in the second half of last season.

The goaltender failed to get into a rhythm on the teams nine-game road trip in late February, when Thomas Greiss started two of the first four games both coming when the team played on consecutive nights.

McLellan claimed after the Oilers game he hadnt yet thought about who his goalie would be against the Flames, but with the importance of the game, you'd have to think he's leaning towards his number one.

When asked if he wants to play again right away, Niemi quickly responded: Im ready to go. Well see what happens.