NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 5th
(All times Eastern)
Calgary Flames (13-18-4) at San Jose Sharks (19-11-6), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks have embraced the hunt.
The playoff hopefuls try to match a season-high seven-game winning streak on
Friday night and deal the Calgary Flames a 12th straight road defeat.
The Sharks set a club record by winning their first seven games of the season,
but slumped badly after that, losing seven straight and 14 of their next 18.
They have slowly begun to rebound and swept a home-and-home set with the
Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks on March 25-27, winning the back end at
home to begin a seven-game homestand.
San Jose has won the first five of that residency and is an outstanding 13-1-4
at home this year.
The Sharks picked up a big 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.
Joe Thornton, Martin Havlat, Dan Boyle and T.J. Galiardi all scored and Antti
Niemi made 31 saves.
With 44 points, the Sharks are tied with the Wild for fifth overall in the
Western Conference, one point back of the Los Angeles Kings.
"We see the standings every day in our lunch room and things like that,"
Thornton said after Wednesday's win. "We want to catch teams. Most of the
teams we've been playing lately have been ahead of us. We're trying to hunt
teams down and secure a good spot in the playoffs."
Friday should mark the debut the San Jose debuts of forward Raffi Torres, who
skated with his new club on Thursday after being acquired from the Phoenix
Coyotes the previous day.
The Sharks also traded for defenseman Scott Hannan, but the former Nashville
Predator is currently battling an upper body injury.
With some grit in the form of Torres on board, the Sharks try to make the
Flames their next victim. Calgary is likely just playing out the string as it
sits 14th out of 15 teams in the West and 10 points back of a playoff spot.
The franchise has also dealt former captain Jarome Iginla and defenseman Jay
Bouwmeester over the last week.
The Flames have not won on the road since Feb. 17 in Dallas and are just
3-11-2 as the road team this season. They begin a three-game swing tonight
after dropping an 8-2 home decision to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
The Oilers swept the home-and-home set, having captured a 4-1 home victory on
Matt Stajan scored a pair of goals for the Flames in the first period less
than three minutes apart to stake his club to an early 2-0 lead, but it was
all Edmonton after that and the Oilers went ahead for good with three power-
play goals in the second frame.
"They're dangerous on the power play and they certainly made us pay," Flames
head coach Bob Hartley said.
With Miikka Kiprusoff getting the night off after having endured trade rumors
and discussions over the previous few days before remaining a Flame, Joey
MacDonald gave up all eight goals and posted 31 saves.
The Sharks have won six of their last nine versus the Flames, but Calgary did
snap a four-game series road losing streak in the most recent encounter in San
Jose on Feb. 8 of last year.
04/05 10:51:53 ET