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Sharks-Flames Preview

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Sharks-Flames Preview

GAME: San Jose Sharks (8-8-4) at Calgary Flames (13-8-2).

TIME: Wednesday, 9 p.m. EST.

The San Jose Sharks, mired in a six-game losing streak, continue their Western Canadian road trip against the resurgent Calgary Flames.

The Sharks haven't won in Calgary since March 2002, posting three losses and a tie in their last four visits.

San Jose has struggled to find the net recently, scoring 11 goals in the last seven contests. The Sharks have tallied more than two goals in a game only once in that stretch.

Despite a lack of scoring, the Sharks have been keeping games close, dropping their last two games and three of their last four in shootouts.

"We have outplayed a lot of teams, just not buried chances," Sharks forward Scott Thornton said. "It's got to be just a matter of time."

Starting goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has played the last four games of the losing streak after returning from a shoulder injury 10 days ago. The Sharks outshot their opponents in all four losses, but Nabokov allowed six shootout goals in the three shootout defeats.

While the Sharks are struggling, Calgary has won nine of its last 10 games.

Scoring early and often has been key to the Flames' winning ways. They have scored at least two first-period goals in four of their last six contests.

The Flames scored a pair of first-period tallies Monday and held on for a 3-2 shootout win over the Colorado Avalanche, thanks to backup goalie Philippe Sauve.

Sauve, acquired from Colorado in an August trade, stopped Joe Sakic, Milan Hejduk and Alex Tanguay in the shootout to secure the win.

"I don't get up any more for them," Sauve said of his old club. "It's a game like every other one. You can't look at who is on the other side."

Chuck Kobasew has been productive during Calgary's surge, scoring five goals and an assist in the last seven games. Jarome Iginla has four goals and six assists over the same span.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 22): Sharks - 20 points, 4th place (tied), 11 PB, Pacific Division. Flames - 28 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sharks - Patrick Marleau, 9 goals, 10 assists and 19 points; Mark Smith, 34 PIM. Flames - Iginla, 11 goals and 22 points; Iginla, Daymond Langkow and Roman Hamrlik, 11 assists; Darren McCarty, 47 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 22): Sharks - Power play: 13.2 percent (18 for 136), 27th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.1 percent (82 for 101), 19th. Flames - Power play: 16.1 percent (24 for 149), tied for 22nd. Penalty killing: 80.4 percent (111 for 138), 23rd.

GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Nabokov (3-3-4, 0 SO, 3.00 GAA); Nolan Schaefer (5-1-0, 1, 1.94). Flames - Miikka Kiprusoff (11-7-2, 3, 2.42); Sauve (2-1-0, 0, 2.68).

SEASON SERIES: Sharks, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 29; Sharks, 3-2, SO. At San Jose, Calif., the Sharks scored twice in the final five minutes of regulation and won the shootout when Schaefer allowed just one of four shootout attempts.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sharks - 4-6-2 on the road; Flames - 9-2-1 at home.


Associated Press
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