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Flames-Sharks Preview

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Flames-Sharks Preview

GAME: Calgary Flames (30-17-7) at San Jose Sharks (24-20-8).

TIME: Monday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

The Calgary Flames look to win in a city where they haven't done so in more than five years as they try to regain sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division.

Struggling to score, the Flames look to break an eight-game winless streak in San Jose when they take on the slumping Sharks.

Calgary, tied with Vancouver atop the Northwest Division, is 0-6-2 at San Jose and has lost six straight there since a 1-0 victory Jan. 3, 2001. The Canucks host Columbus on Monday night.

The Flames have managed nine goals in the six losses, and 15 during the winless streak at HP Pavilion.

Calgary is also trying to avoid its first overall four-game losing streak this season. Leading scorer Jarome Iginla had a power-play goal Friday, but Miikka Kiprusoff could not make the lead stand up as Calgary fell 3-1 to Vancouver.

"Chin up. Let's go," Flames coach Darryl Sutter said. "This doesn't change anything. Remember I said from the outset, the team we need to stay with and now that we really need to stay with is Vancouver."

Calgary has scored five goals during the losing streak after scoring five in a win Jan. 29 over Chicago.

"Offensively, we're not going as well as we can as a group," Iginla said. "We've got to score more than one goal. (Kiprusoff's) played so well for us and tonight again, there were some chances and it's a combination of putting one more of those in but also getting more chances."

Iginla has points in four of his last five games at San Jose.

Kiprusoff, who had 14 wins in two-plus seasons with the Sharks before emerging as a top goalie with Calgary after being acquired in 2003 for a draft pick, lost in his two career road games against San Jose.

The Sharks are also struggling offensively as they look to avoid a third straight defeat and sixth in seven games. San Jose was shut out by Anaheim for the second time in 10 days Saturday, 2-0.

"We had our chances on the power play, and we definitely could have used a big goal," Patrick Marleau said. "We tried a lot of shots. Maybe we should have worked it around a little more. When we do that, though, we say we need to shoot more."

Joe Thornton, who saw his four-game point streak end in the loss to Anaheim, recorded three assists in two of his last three games against Calgary. Linemate Jonathan Cheechoo, whose four-game point streak also ended, has two goals and four assists in his last five games against the Flames.

STANDINGS: Flames - 67 points, 1st place (tied), Northwest Division. Sharks - 56 points, 5th place, 19 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Iginla, 25 goals and 42 points; Dion Phaneuf, 22 assists; Darren McCarty, 80 PIM. Sharks - Cheechoo, 31 goals; Marleau, 33 assists and 54 points; Mark Smith, 73 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Flames - Power play: 17.4 percent (56 for 321), 15th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.5 percent (273 for 331), 14th. Sharks - Power play: 16.9 percent (54 for 320), 21st. Penalty killing: 79.7 percent (208 for 261), 24th.

GOALTENDERS: Flames - Kiprusoff (27-14-7, 6 SO, 2.24 GAA); Brian Boucher (3-6-0, 3.87). Sharks - Evgeni Nabokov (14-14-6, 1, 2.92); Vesa Toskala (5-5-2, 3.25).

SEASON SERIES: 1-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 23; Flames, 3-2. At Calgary, Alberta, Robyn Regehr and Tony Amonte scored third-period goals to snap a 1-1 tie.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flames - 12-12-4 on the road; Sharks - 14-6-5 at home.


Associated Press
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