San Jose has split their four meetings against Calgary heading into tonight’s matchup.
The San Jose Sharks head back on the road after another one-game stop at SAP Center as they make their way through Alberta for one last time this season. San Jose begins their back-to-back with their fifth, and final, meeting with the Calgary Flames tonight at the Saddledome.
The Sharks have gone 2-1-1 against the Flames this season with the teams trading wins and losses during the season series. Calgary was able to capture a 6-5 shootout victory over San Jose back on Feb. 11 as neither defense provided much of a hindrance to the other side.
It’s been a very disappointing season for Calgary who had high hopes after a surprise run to the Western Conference semifinals a season ago. The Flames have sat near the bottom of the division all season long and recently, went on a seven-game skid before stopping the slide with a victory on Saturday.
San Jose will look to get the jump on this vulnerable Calgary team, especially after falling against Vancouver last time out.
Players to Watch
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Sharks: Patrick Marleau. It’s been an interesting season for Marleau who began the year on fire, then created his own firestorm when it came out that he would welcome a trade, and now, he’s kind of middling along for the Sharks. He’s always been a streaky-type player, but with his next goal, Marleau will be the oldest San Jose player to record a 20-goal season (per Darin Stephens). Marleau still ranks fourth on the team with 39 points (19 goals, 20 assists), but he needs to pick up his all-around play with the playoffs looming as he’s a minus-15, the worst figure on the team.
Flames: T.J. Brodie. For a terrible defensive team, Brodie is quietly having a very solid season on the blue line for Calgary. He leads by a wide margin with a plus-11 rating and sees the most ice time at 25:53 a game for Bob Hartley’s team. His 40 points (four goals, 36 assists) are tied for third on the team as he’s stating his case for inclusion on the Team Canada roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Keys to the Game
1. Penalty Kill
San Jose’s penalty kill was dreadful against Vancouver as all three goals besides the empty-netter came with the man advantage. The Sharks will have to get that part of their game back in order as the penalty kill will be critical come postseason play. They have a nice opportunity to get back on track against a Flames team that ranks 28th on the power play. On the other hand, San Jose has been one of the few teams Calgary has had success against going 5-for-9 in their last two contests against the Sharks.
2. Focus On The Details
Last time these two teams met, San Jose allowed four first-period goals as they were terrible in all aspects of the game. The Sharks need to focus on the little things in this matchup and don’t overlook this struggling Flames squad. Jump on them early and maintain your discipline in all three zones to frustrate this young Calgary lineup.
3. Find The Right Mix
With the Sharks basically locked into a playoff spot, it’s time for Peter DeBoer to find the guys who he’s going to count on come crunch time. While his top line is set, DeBoer has shuffled his bottom three lines as he searches for consistent production. It’s time for San Jose’s depth to establish themselves and see which combinations can work well together this spring.
TV: CSN-California (6:00 p.m. PST)
Radio: 98.5 KFOX