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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 24th (All times Eastern)
San Jose Sharks (46-18-8) at Calgary Flames (29-35-7), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Sharks will try to bounce back from a loss and further their quest for the Pacific Division title when they visit the Calgary Flames in Monday's battle at the Saddledome.
San Jose picked up a big win over visiting Anaheim on Thursday, notching a 3-2 regulation win over the Ducks to break a tie for first in the Pacific. The Sharks, however, lost for the second time in three games with a 3-2 shootout loss against visiting Washington on Saturday, but the point gained pushed San Jose three points ahead of Anaheim for the division lead.
The Ducks have since cut the deficit to one with Sunday's win over Florida, but San Jose has a chance to restore the three-point cushion tonight with Anaheim idle. The Sharks also can clinch a playoff spot by gaining a point in Monday's game, or if they get help from other teams in action this evening.
San Jose, winners of seven of its last nine games, dropped Saturday's test against the Capitals after Nicklas Backstrom buried the game-winner in the third round of the shootout at SAP Center.
After San Jose's Logan Couture came up empty to open the shootout, Evgeny Kuznetsov beat Antti Niemi blocker side to put the Caps on top. The next two shooters then missed, but Patrick Marleau extended the skills competition by slipping a wrister under Braden Holtby's pads. However, Backstrom lifted a backhander over Niemi's glove at the other end, as Washington snapped an 0-11-1 skid at San Jose.
Marleau and James Sheppard scored in regulation for the Sharks, who saw Niemi make 23 saves in the loss.
"The goals were just puck luck. Sometimes it doesn't go your way," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said of Washington's goals. "There's not much we can do about it."
The Sharks, who are playing two straight and three of their next four on the road, are 20-13-3 as the guest this season. San Jose has lost two of its last three trips to Calgary, including a 4-1 setback when the clubs met at the Saddledome on Jan. 30. The Sharks had won four straight in the series, including the first three encounters of 2013-14, before dropping that January game.
The Flames are headed for a fifth straight season out of the playoffs, but the club has done a respectable job down the stretch. Calgary has won four of its last six games and is coming off Saturday's 8-1 road thrashing of the Edmonton Oilers, the only team below the Flames in the West standings.
Calgary posted its highest goal output of the season on Saturday, scoring seven or more times for the second time in March. The Flames, who lost Friday's home game against Nashville by a 6-5 score, also downed Anaheim 7-2 back on March 12.
"We wanted to redeem ourselves from last night's game," Flames head coach Bob Hartley said of his team's offensive outburst.
Curtis Glencross notched his third career hat trick to lead the rout in Edmonton. The 31-year-old now has 10 goals on the season.
Matt Stajan had a goal and three assists while Mike Cammalleri added a goal and two helpers for the Flames.
Karri Ramo stopped 24 shots to pick up the win in his first action since Feb. 1. Ramo had missed the previous 15 games with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee
Calgary is opening a three-game homestand tonight and is 16-17-3 as the guest this season.
03/24 15:08:15 ET