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At the Rink: Flames at Sharks

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE -- Jonas Hiller will make his first start in a month when the Calgary Flames visit the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, CSN-CA).

Hiller sustained a hip injury and hasn't started since Oct. 28 against the Ottawa Senators when he gave up four goals on 18 shots. He was activated from injured reserve Thursday.

Hiller is 2-3-0 with a 3.67 goals-against average and .861 save percentage this season and 10-10-2 with a 2.21 GAA and two shutouts against the Sharks in his career. Karri Ramo, who has started the past 12 games for Calgary, is 6-8-1 with a 3.02 GAA and .899 save percentage.

The Flames (8-13-2) lost 2-1 in overtime on Friday to the Arizona Coyotes and are 3-8-2 on the road, but they dominated the season series against San Jose last season, going 4-1-0.

'I think they're the same team as last year," Sharks forward Tommy Wingels said Saturday. "I think everyone around the league saw how good they can be. You can't take them lightly."

The Sharks will be without defenseman Justin Braun for a second straight game. Braun was placed on injured reserve Saturday because of an infection that developed from a cut in his left elbow. He had surgery on Wednesday and is on antibiotics.

"Those are scary injuries," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said after the Sharks' optional skate. "You get an infection in a cut like that, it's got the potential to run wild and you can get into some pretty ugly situations. I feel fortunate that we got this early and I think we all feel comfortable that it's in a good place, but it's a tough injury to deal with and you have to make sure you take care of it."

DeBoer had to shuffle his defensive pairings Wednesday, and the Sharks struggled in a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at home. He's hoping for a better defensive effort against Calgary.

"That will be up to them," DeBoer said. "I hope so. As coaches, you analyze their game, you look at it, you show them what your expectation is and what they did wrong, and then you give them a chance to respond. This is a response game not just for the defensemen, but we've got some forwards that are in that boat, too."

Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson, who was part of the third pair with Mirco Mueller, saw little ice time against Chicago after making some costly first-period mistakes. Third-line forwards Wingels and Tomas Hertl were benched in the third period.

"Take pucks to the net myself, kind of get around the net," Wingels said. "You talk about trying to be more of a rugged, hard-working player that plays with skill and not the other way around. For me it's getting back to that. It's certainly things that I can control. I'll have to start doing it tonight."

Goaltender Martin Jones will make his second straight start for the Sharks (13-9-0).

Here are the projected lineups:


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik

Joe Colborne - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Micheal Ferland - Markus Granlund - Josh Jooris

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dougie Hamilton

Deryk Engelland - Dennis Wideman

Jonas Hiller

Karri Ramo

Injured: Lance Bouma (broken leg)

Scratched: Mason Raymond, Brandon Bollig, Ladislav Smid


Melker Karlsson - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Joonas Donskoi - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward

Matt Nieto - Tomas Hertl - Tommy Wingels

Dainius Zubrus - Chris Tierney - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brenden Dillon

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Mirco Mueller - Matt Tennyson

Martin Jones

Alex Stalock

Injured: Logan Couture (broken leg), Ben Smith (concussion), Justin Braun (elbow)

Scratched: Micheal Haley, Dylan DeMelo

Status update: The Sharks recalled DeMelo from the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League on Saturday, but he will be a healthy scratch. ... Granlund will be in the lineup for the second straight game since being recalled from Stockton of the AHL. .. The Flames did not have a morning skate so it is unclear if there will be any changes to the lineup.

Who's hot: Burns has four goals and five points in his past three games. ... Marleau has a two-game goal streak and a three game point streak (two goals, four assists). ... Gaudreau has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past four games and leads the Flames in points (21) and assists (16).

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