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Preview: Sharks at Flames

Calgary would clinch playoff berth with win; San Jose two points out of second place in Pacific Division

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

SHARKS (43-27-7) at FLAMES (43-30-4)

9 p.m. ET; SNW, CSN-CA, NHL.TV 


Sharks team scope

The San Jose Sharks lead the Calgary Flames by three points for third place in the Pacific Division and trail the second-place Edmonton Oilers by two points. San Jose, which clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth with a 5-4 overtime win against the New York Rangers on Tuesday, trails the Anaheim Ducks by three points for the division lead. Each has five games remaining. "In playoffs, I think, if anything, and the time of hockey it is right now, teams are showing up every night and playing hard," center Joe Pavelski said following a 3-2 loss at Edmonton on Thursday. "There's another level for us to get to." San Jose is 1-7-0 in its past eight games after going 7-2-0 in its previous nine. "Do you rather play like [garbage] and win or do you want to play good and lose?" forward Jannik Hansen said Thursday. "We're obviously getting closer to the playoffs here. We need to have our game in the right spot. The last two games have been a whole lot better than the previous six." Goaltender Martin Jones could start after making 19 saves in 3-2 loss at Edmonton on Thursday. Jones is 33-21-6 with a 2.38 goals-against average and .912 save percentage this season. Center Joe Thornton is one assist from passing Brett Hull (1,391) for 22nd place on the NHL all-time list.


Flames team scope

The Flames can clinch a playoff berth with a win in any fashion against San Jose, with a point against the Sharks and a loss in any fashion by the Los Angeles Kings at the Vancouver Canucks, or with a regulation loss by Los Angeles at Vancouver. "We're only concerned about one [way to clinch]," forward Kris Versteeg said. "We want to get in. From there you keep moving on. To make the playoffs, from Day One, was our goal. We've put ourselves in a good situation to do it." The Flames failed to clinch on their first attempt, losing 4-1 to the Kings at home on Tuesday. "We want to get the job done," forward Matt Stajan said. "This is what you play for all year, to have a chance to clinch, especially on home ice. We're going to regroup from last game. Everybody will be ready to go tonight." Calgary leads the Nashville Predators by one point for the first wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. Each has five games remaining. The Flames can move within a point of third place in the Pacific Division with a win. "We're still looking ahead," Versteeg said. "It's something we want to do. Look ahead and be confident we're a team that can keep moving up. This is a game we have to win to do it."


Sharks projected lineup

Timo Meier -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Melker Karlsson -- Patrick Marleau -- Joel Ward

Jannik Hansen -- Tomas Hertl -- Mikkel Boedker

Micheal Haley -- Chris Tierney -- Joonas Donskoi

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Marcus Sorensen, Kevin Labanc, Dylan DeMelo

Injured: Logan Couture (face)


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Micheal Ferland

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Matt Stajan -- Troy Brouwer

Lance Bouma -- Sam Bennett -- Alex Chiasson

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Michael Stone

Matt Bartkowski -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Curtis Lazar, Freddie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman

Injured: None


Status report

Dell and DeMelo were the only two Sharks to participate in an optional skate Friday morning. … Elliott, who is 14-2-1 with 34 goals against and two shutouts in his past 17 starts, will make his fourth straight start and 18th in the past 21 games. The Flames are expected to use the same lineup they did Wednesday.


Who's hot

Marleau has four points (three goals, one assist) in his past five games. … Gaudreau has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in a six-game point streak and 24 points (six goals, 18 assists) in his past 18 games. Monahan has seven points (two goals, five assists) in a three-game point streak and has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past six games.

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