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At the Rink: Flames at Sharks

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE - Goaltender Antti Niemi will make his 17th start of the season Wednesday night against the Calgary Flames at SAP Center, but the San Jose Sharks are scrambling to find him a backup.

San Jose's No. 3 goaltender, Troy Grosenick, sustained an upper-body injury during practice Tuesday and was ruled out for Wednesday. Grosenick has been filling in for No. 2 goaltender Alex Stalock, who is on injured reserve after undergoing surgery on his left knee about two weeks ago.

Stalock was on the ice for San Jose's morning skate, but coach Todd McLellan said he's not ready to be activated from IR.

"We're in an emergency type of situation where we're trying to get a goaltender," McLellan said.

According to McLellan, the Sharks won't be able to get a goaltender to San Jose from Worcester of the American Hockey League in time for the game.

So assistant general manager Wayne Thomas, a former NHL goaltender who works with San Jose's goalies, has been working the phones, trying to find an available backup goaltender.

Defenseman Matt Tennyson, who was recalled from Worcester on Sunday, will make his season-debut for the Sharks. He'll be paired with Brenden Dillon, acquired Friday from the Dallas Stars in a trade for defenseman Jason Demers and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Tennyson played four games for San Jose in the 2012-13 season but didn't play an NHL game last season.

"Been a while," Tennyson said. "I've been playing well in Worcester. I've been up here quite a few times. I'm pretty comfortable."

With 24 points, the Sharks are in fifth place in the Pacific Division and trail third-place Calgary by four points. They would like to close that gap, and to get a win for McLellan.

There has been speculation about McLellan's job security, but several players supported him Wednesday.

"To me he's been great," Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said of McLellan. "I wouldn't want to see him go."

Sharks forward Tommy Wingels said, "Those reports irritate us as a team. We don't think they're warranted."

The Sharks have lost three of their past four games, two of them in shootouts, and are 3-5-2 over their past 10 games. The Flames are 6-4-0 in their past 10 games but will be playing back-to-back games after a 3-2 road loss Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Flames had an optional morning skate, and just a handful of players were on the ice. Calgary made some news off the ice, reportedly waiving forward Devin Setoguchi. Setoguchi, a former Shark, had no points and a minus-7 rating in 12 games for the Flames.

Forward David Jones, who had been on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, will be in the lineup for the first time since Nov. 15, Flames coach Bob Hartley said. Jones was healthy enough to play against Anaheim, but Hartley said he wanted to give him an extra day to prepare.

"With the injury he had, he was basically shut down," Hartley said. "Yesterday he put in a good day of work. We need him big tonight."

Backup goaltender Karri Ramo is expected to start against San Jose, one night after Jonas Hiller faced Anaheim.

Here are the projected lineups:


Curtis Glencross - Sean Monahan - David Jones

Johnny Gaudreau - Markus Granlund - Jiri Hudler

Michael Ferland - Josh Jooris - Paul Byron

Sven Baertschi - Corban Knight - Lance Bouma

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Ladislav Smid - Deryk Engelland

Karri Ramo

Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Brian McGrattan, Brandon Bollig, Raphael Diaz

Injured: Sam Bennett (shoulder surgery), Mikael Backlund (undisclosed), Joe Colborne (upper body), Matt Stajan (knee), Mason Raymond (shoulder)


Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Tomas Hertl

Matt Nieto - Logan Couture - Joe Pavelski

Barclay Goodrow - James Sheppard - Tommy Wingels

Tyler Kennedy - Andrew Desjardins - Tye McGinn

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Mirco Mueller - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Matt Tennyson

Antti Niemi

Injured: Raffi Torres (right knee), Mike Brown (left hand), Alex Stalock (left knee), Troy Grosenick (upper body)

Scratched: Scott Hannon, Matt Irwin, John Scott

Status report: Stalock is making progress in his recovery from surgery on his left knee, but he's not sure when he'll be ready to play. "[This was] a day when you take a step, get feedback from the leg and see how it bounces back," Stalock said after taking part in the morning skate. ... McGrattan, Bollig and Diaz were the only skaters on the ice for Calgary, so they'll likely be scratched, with Bollig coming out of the lineup for Jones.

Who's hot: Couture has a three-game point streak with a goal and two assists. ... Thornton leads the Sharks in points (20) and assists (13) and is third in goals (7). ... Vlasic leads the Sharks with a rating of plus-10. ... Glencross has a three-game point streak with two goals and two assists. ... Hudler has scored a goal in two straight games. With eight goals, he's tied with Wideman and Monahan for the team lead. ... Giordano leads the Flames in points (24) and assists (18).

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