SAN JOSE, CA -- The San Jose Sharks are surging.
At one point, the first place Los Angeles Kings held a lofty lead over other Pacific Division teams but the Sharks have steadily climbed up the ladder and now are only seven points back of their California rivals thanks to their 28-20-4 record.
In their last 10 games, they are 6-2-2 and are coming off a 2-0 road win over the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.
"The guys played hard and gave them, really, nothing," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski told the team's website after Tuesday's win in Chicago. "The PK was great [and] the power play. The special teams were there for us. [Jones] was solid. [We're] playing a good team game right now."
Goaltender Martin Jones has been a pillar of strength for the Sharks, going 25-15-3 this year with a 2.38 GAA and a .915 save percentage. On Tuesday, he pitched his fifth shutout of the year in Chicago, denying the Blackhawks on 33 shots. With that win, he became just the fourth goaltender in franchise history to post a road shutout against the defending Stanley Cup winners.
The team also has received a big boost from the return of Logan Couture. The forward was cleared to play on Dec. 30 after missing 30 games with injuries. With Couture in the lineup, the team is 13-5-3. Without him, they hold a 14-15-1 record. He currently has four goals and 13 points in 22 skates.
The Flames and Sharks have met three times this year, with San Jose winning two of those match-ups and outscoring the Flames 12-10. Joe Thornton leads the Sharks in scoring against the Flames with two goals and four points while Calgary is led by Mikael Backlund (one goal, three assists) and Mark Giordano (four assists).
BREAKING DOWN THE SHARKS
Power Play: 22.5 percent overall (39 goals scored in 173 chances with the man advantage), 20.7 percent at home (17 goals scored in 82 chances with the man advantage)
Penalty Kill: 80.8 percent overall (30 goals allowed in 156 times being short-handed), 75.4 percent at home (16 goals allowed in 65 times being short-handed)
2015-16 Record vs. the Flames: 2-1-0
2014-15 Record vs. the Flames: 1-3-1
Notable Injuries: N/A
Who's HOT: Joe Thornton
At age 36, Joe Thornton continues to be the offensive motor of the San Jose Sharks. The veteran is second in scoring, trailing leader Joe Pavelski by six points, with 46 points through 52 games this year and has seven points in his last five appearances.
Thornton had a goal and an assist in San Jose's 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
Honourable Mention: Martin Jones
The former Calgary Hitmen goaltender has been rock solid in the blue paint as of late. In his last five starts, Martin has three wins and allowed one or fewer goals in those victories. He is coming off a shutout performance against the Blackhawks, turning aside all 33 shots he faced and earning first star honours in the 2-0 victory.
Who's NOT: Joel Ward
Since the calendar flipped to February, Ward, who is the Sharks' fifth leading scorer with 15 goals and 31 points, has struggled to produce offensively. He has been held off the scoresheet in all four of the games he has played this month and is a minus-three in that stretch.