FLAMES (24-25-3) at SHARKS (28-20-4)
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, SN360, CSN-CA, NHL.TV
SAN JOSE -- Backup goaltender Alex Stalock will make his first start since Jan. 18, and injured defenseman Brenden Dillon will be out of the lineup when the San Jose Sharks face the Calgary Flames at SAP Center on Thursday.
No. 1 goaltender Martin Jones started the past eight games for San Jose, going 5-2-1 with a 33-save shutout of the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday at United Center.
"Just scheduling," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of the switch. "I probably would have played him earlier. I had in the back of my mind some scheduled starts earlier. [Jones] got on a real roll and the games mapped out that we didn't have to overtax him to keep playing him. This is probably a little later than I anticipated [Stalock] getting his next start, but for a good reason. I expect he'll be really good tonight."
Stalock is 1-2-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in his career against Calgary. He's 3-5-1 with a 2.76 GAA and .894 save percentage overall this season.
"[Jones has] been playing great, so I've been trying to stay sharp in practice," Stalock said.
Dillon was injured in the first period against Chicago and did not return to the game. He skated Thursday morning after most of the Sharks had left the ice, and DeBoer said his injury should not keep him out long-term.
Matt Tennyson will replace Dillon in the lineup and see NHL action for the first time since Dec. 8 at Calgary. He'll skate with Dylan DeMelo in the third pair. The Sharks have had the same six defensemen -- Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun, Brent Burns, Paul Martin, Dillon and DeMelo -- for the past 25 games.
"We've been fortunate from a health perspective back there for the last couple months," DeBoer said. "You knew eventually we were going to have to deal with some of this. [Tennyson] went down on a conditioning assignment, played very well for the Barracuda. I think he really felt good about himself. He's been sitting a while since then, but I think we're all confident he can come in and get the job done."
The Sharks will face what they expect to be a highly motivated Flames team that will have forwards Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Lance Bouma back in the lineup. All three were scratched for Calgary's game Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs because of disciplinary reasons after arriving late for practice Monday.
"I think the guys had to learn from it," Flames forward Michael Frolik said. "We want to put it behind. It's the right time now to step up and do the work. The best answer is to win tonight. I think everything will be forgiven."
The Flames have won two straight games with Jonas Hiller in net, including a 4-3 victory against Toronto. But Karri Ramo will start against San Jose and make his team-high 37th appearance.
"We're fortunate we have two great veterans, two guys that get along very well," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "They compete hard for us. It's just a matter of trying to call the right name for the right game. They're giving us some good goaltending."
Ramo is 1-1-0 with a 3.58 GAA and .863 save percentage against the Sharks this season.
The Sharks are in second place in the Pacific Division with 60 points, seven behind the Los Angeles Kings and one ahead of the Anaheim Ducks. The Flames are in sixth place in the Pacific with 51 points, eight out of a playoff spot.
"They need points and so do we," Vlasic said. "They're chasing us. They'll be very desperate."
Here are the projected lineups:
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler
Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik
Lance Bouma - Matt Stajan - David Jones
Micheal Ferland - Markus Granlund - Joe Colborne
Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie
Kris Russell - Dougie Hamilton
Ladislav Smid - Deryk Engelland
Scratched: Josh Jooris, Brandon Bollig, Jakub Nakladal
Suspended: Dennis Wideman
Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels
Melker Karlsson - Chris Tierney - Dainius Zubrus
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Paul Martin - Brent Burns
Matt Tennyson - Dylan DeMelo
Injured: Brenden Dillon (upper body)
Scratched: Mike Brown, Mirco Mueller
Status report: The Sharks called up Mueller from the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League, but he'll be a healthy scratch. … Granlund is in the lineup for the second straight game after being scratched for three straight.
Who's hot: Thornton has a three-game goal streak and five points during that span. He has a point in 12 of his past 13 games. … Vlasic has an assist in five straight games. … Backlund has two goals and one assist in his past two games. … Brodie has four assists during a three-game point streak.