In the Crease: Sharks begin homestand with fading Flames

In the Crease: Sharks begin homestand with fading Flames
January 20, 2014, 9:45 am
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The Sharks are 2-0 against Calgary this season, winning 6-3 at home on Oct. 19 and 3-2 in a shootout at the Saddledome on Nov. 12. (USATSI)

Programming note: Sharks-Flames coverage gets underway at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 31-12-6, 68 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 4th Western Conference
Flames: 16-26-7, 39 points, 6th Pacific Division, 13th Western Conference

[RELATED: Pavelski's hat trick cues win to cap Sharks road trip]

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 3.06 (5th)
Goals-against per game: 2.37 (5th)
Power play: 18.9 percent (13th)
Penalty kill: 82.8 percent (12th)

Flames
Goals per game: 2.16 (29th)
Goals-against per game: 3.12 (28th)
Power play: 13.8 percent (27th)
Penalty kill: 80.2 percent (18th)

Probable lines

Sharks
Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Matt Nieto – Patrick Marleau – Tommy Wingels
Bracken Kearns – Andrew Desjardins – Tyler Kennedy
James Sheppard – John McCarthy – Eriah Hayes

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Jason Demers
Brad Stuart – Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle

Antti NIemi
Alex Stalock

Flames
Jiri Hudler – Mikael Backlund – Lee Stempniak
Paul Byron - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne
Lance Bouma - Matt Stajan - David Jones
Kevin Westgarth – Blair Jones – Brian McGrattan

T.J. Brodie – Mark Giordano
Kris Russell – Chris Butler
Dennis Wideman – Shane O’Brien

Karri Ramo
Reto Berra

The latest

Sharks: The Sharks completed a three-game sweep of their road trip with a 5-4 win in Tampa Bay on Saturday. Joe Pavelski’s first career hat trick help San Jose to overcome four goals from Martin St. Louis , and Matt Nieto and Patrick Marleau also scored for the Sharks. San Jose begins a four-game homestand tonight, and has eight of its final 10 games before the Olympic break at SAP Center.

[RELATED: Sharks, Lightning make history in wild game]

Flames: A total of 204 penalty minutes were handed out in Calgary’s 3-2 shootout loss in Vancouver on Saturday, in a game that featured Canucks head coach John Tortorella attempting to storm into the Flames’ dressing room after a first period line brawl. Mark Giordano and Matt Stajan scored in the loss, and Karri Ramo allowed two goals on 33 shots. The Flames are 1-5-1 in their last seven.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Matt Nieto. The rookie has contributed a goal in each of the last two games, after going 28 straight without one, including a couple stints in the minors. The speedy winger looks more confident lately, perhaps settling into NHL life, and the Sharks will need him to keep it up while they battle the injury bug. Nieto has seven points (2g, 5a) in his last 10 games.

Flames: Mark Girodano. The Flames captain and defenseman missed the last game against San Jose due to injury, and has seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points from the blue line. Giordano's 25 minutes and 30 seconds of ice time per game is eighth in the league among defensemen, and his -2 rating is one of the better marks on a struggling Flames team.

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee surgery), Raffi Torres (right knee surgery) and Adam Burish (back surgery) are out.

Flames: Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain) and Mike Cammalleri (concussion) are out.

Season/All-Time series

The Sharks are 2-0 against Calgary this season, winning 6-3 at home on Oct. 19 and 3-2 in overtime at the Saddledome on Nov. 12. Joe Pavelski leads all scorers in the season series with two goals and three assists for five points. Antti Niemi and Alex Stalock each have one win against the Flames, while Karri Ramo and Reto Berra each have a loss.

All-time, the Sharks are 41-46-4 against the Flames, with eight ties. The teams meet twice more this season on Jan. 30 and March 24, both at Calgary.

Quoteable

“Guys stepping up and getting a chance, they’ve made an impact for us. We need that going on, and it’s good. This experience that guys are getting right now, it will pay off at the end.” – Joe Pavelski

Burning question

What is your opinion on the fight-filled Calgary-Vancouver game on Saturday? Leave your answer in the comments section below.