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At the Rink: Sharks at Flames

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Goaltender Karri Ramo will make his 12th consecutive start when the Calgary Flames host the San Jose Sharks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday (9 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, SNW).

Ramo's availability came into question when he was hit in the throat by a shot from forward Mason Raymond in practice Sunday.

"For the first few minutes I felt like the puck was still stuck there in my throat," Ramo said. "Other than that, it was sore for three or four hours. Swallowing was really hard. I was able to still breathe and everything. It was a little bit higher and it would've been probably worse. It was a lucky thing and an unlucky thing. You don't want to get hit in the throat, but it hit so low it was good.

"It was a couple of centimeters away from being a real problem, but everything's fine now."

Rami is 6-5-0 with a 1.82 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in his past 11 starts. He has started 26 of the past 29 games for the Flames.

"Whenever you get a puck in the throat, I'm sure it's not a very good feeling," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "Yesterday there was fear. There were concerns. Our medical staff checked him this morning. He's fine to go. He's a warrior. He wants to go. He's fine."

The Flames and Sharks are tied for fifth in the Pacific Division with 40 points. San Jose has played one fewer game.

They each trail the third-place Vancouver Canucks by two points.

"It's playoffs," Hartley said. "It's as simple as this. We have to have a playoff mindset. I'm sure if you talked to every other coach in both conferences, the parity in this league is unbelievable. The fans are the biggest winners of this situation. It's going to be great hockey. It's basically do-or-die every game. The team that will try to figure out that the last 10 games of the season you can wake up and make a push…there's so many teams involved in the race right now that you're just going to run out of time. It's time to act now."

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer agreed.

"I think we're getting to that point of the season," he said. "The standings reflect that type of intensity. These are important points."

San Jose is 13-6-2 on the road and has earned points in 12 of the past 15 road games, and is 4-4-1 against Pacific opponents.

"Every game is key, but especially those division ones, you want to win them all," Sharks forward Joe Ward said. "For us, it's cliché but we've got to take it one game at a time. I feel like I've heard the word 'playoffs' so many times already at the start. For us it's just not to look too far down the road and worry about the task ahead."

Here are the projected lineups:

SHARKS

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels

Melker Karlsson - Chris Tierney - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Dylan DeMelo - Brenden Dillon

Martin Jones

Alex Stalock

Injured: Dainius Zubrus (upper body)

Scratched: Ben Smith, Matt Tennyson

FLAMES

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Micheal Ferland

Sam Bennett - Markus Granlund - Josh Jooris

Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - David Jones

Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Joe Colborne

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dougie Hamilton

Dennis Wideman - Deryk Engelland

Karri Ramo

Jonas Hiller

Injured: Michael Frolik (upper body), Jiri Hudler (lower body)

Scratched: Mason Raymond, Ladislav Smid

Status report: Jones is expected to make his eighth consecutive start. … Marleau is playing in his 500th consecutive game. … Frolik has resumed skating with the Flames.

Who's hot: Burns has five goals and nine points in his past six games. … Vlasic has three assists in his past two games. …Giordano has one goal and five points as part of a four-game point scoring streak.

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