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Preview: Sharks at Flames

San Jose forward Mikkel Boedker looks to build off hat trick; Calgary ready for 'important' division game

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

SHARKS (25-14-2) at FLAMES (22-19-2)
9:30 p.m. ET; SN, SN1, CSN-CA, NHL.TV


Sharks team scope

The San Jose Sharks have won two straight games, including a 5-3 victory at the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, since losing three in a row (0-2-1). Forward Mikkel Boedker, who hadn't scored in 28 games before being a healthy scratch against the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 5, scored in his return against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday and had a hat trick against the Oilers. "After struggling and not producing you always feel pressure," Boedker said. "But the pressure stays with you. Now you have to expect to go out and do the things I'm relied on to do." Defenseman Dylan DeMelo will not play after sustaining an apparent upper-body injury early in the second period against the Oilers. "It doesn't look too promising," coach Peter DeBoer said after the game. "He won't play tomorrow. We'll get back and get some pictures of it when we get home." Goalie Aaron Dell could start when San Jose completes a two-game road trip after Martin Jones made 33 saves in Edmonton. Dell, who last started Dec. 30, is 4-1-0 with a 1.78 goals-against average and .936 save percentage this season. A win against Calgary would put the Sharks in sole possession of first in the Pacific Division. They are tied with the Anaheim Ducks with 52 points and have played two fewer games. Forward Joe Thornton is two points from tying Johnny Bucyk (1,369) for 24th on the NHL's all-time list.


Flames team scope

The Calgary Flames are 5-3-0 in their past eight games and 12-6-0 in their past 18, and know the importance of a win against the Sharks. "I think it's a statement for us when you play teams above us," goaltender Chad Johnson said. "You want to be able to know you can compete with them. We beat them earlier in the year in San Jose. It's a challenge for us." Calgary holds the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, and trails San Jose by six points. The Flames are also three points behind the Oilers for third in the Pacific. "Huge divisional game," forward Johnny Gaudreau said. "They beat Edmonton [Tuesday] so it gives us room to try to catch up to them a little bit. It's a really, really important game. These divisional games are so important." Johnson (14-9-1, 2.27 GAA, .922 save percentage) is expected to start. "It's close," Johnson said. "We're not that far from San Jose. We know that we're in a good spot but these next 20 games are going to be big for us to get that push. There's that energy knowing we have to get better than we have been. It's going to be a challenge for us. I think guys with hopefully be ready."


Sharks projected lineup

Timo Meier -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Kevin Labanc -- Logan Couture -- Joonas Donskoi

Patrick Marleau -- Chris Tierney -- Joel Ward

Melker Karlsson -- Micheal Haley -- Mikkel Boedker

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- Mirco Mueller

Aaron Dell

Martin Jones

Scratched: Tommy Wingels, Tim Heed

Injured: Tomas Hertl (knee), David Schlemko (upper body), Dylan DeMelo (upper body)


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Alex Chiasson

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Micheal Ferland

Lance Bouma -- Matt Stajan -- Garnet Hathaway

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Dennis Wideman

Brett Kulak -- Deryk Engelland

Chad Johnson

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Freddie Hamilton

Injured: Troy Brouwer (finger)


Status report 

The Sharks did not hold a morning skate Wednesday. Either Heed or Mueller will take DeMelo's place in the lineup. …The Flames aren't expected to make any lineup changes.


Who's hot

Burns has seven points in his past three games, and 21 points in his past 17. Pavelski has five goals and 11 points in his past 10 games. … Backlund has six goals and 11 points in his past eight games. Tkachuk has nine assists and 10 points in his past 10 games.

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