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Sharks-Flames Preview

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GAME: San Jose Sharks (28-22-8) at Calgary Flames (34-18-7).

TIME: Saturday, 10 p.m. EST.

After struggling for most of the season, Calgary's Jarome Iginla is finally showing the skills that have made him one of that franchise's all-time greats.

With the stretch run for the playoffs under way, the Flames hope to see similar efforts from the two-time goal-scoring champion as they meet the San Jose Sharks.

Though he leads the Flames in goals and points, Iginla is on pace for 73 points for the second straight season. Since posting a career-high 96 points in 2000-01, he has averaged just 70 points each of the next two seasons.

On Thursday, Iginla scored twice - and picked up a rare fighting major - in the Flames' 3-1 win over St. Louis.

"We're right near the bottom of the league in offense and as forwards, we take it personally," Iginla said. "If you look around the room, every single one of us has more to give and wants to be better."

Despite being in first place in the Northwest Division, the Flames' 157 goals scored are third-fewest in the Western Conference, ahead of only Chicago (152) and Columbus (148), which have combined for 42 wins.

Calgary is 9-0-0 when Iginla has a multiple-point game. He has just one goal and one assist in three games against the Sharks this season.

Miikka Kiprusoff likely will start in goal for the Flames, looking again to beat the team that traded him. Kiprusoff, who had 14 wins in two-plus seasons with the Sharks before being dealt to Calgary in 2003, is 3-1-1 lifetime against them. In two of those wins at Calgary, Kiprusoff has stopped 39 of 42 shots.

The Sharks saw their four-game winning streak end Friday with a 3-2 loss to Edmonton.

Joe Thornton's goal with 4:37 to play have San Jose a 2-1 lead. But backup goaltender Vesa Toskala, playing in place of Olympian Evgeni Nabokov, gave up a goal to Shawn Horcoff before Ales Hemsky scored the game-winner with 67 seconds to play.

The loss also dropped the Sharks six points behind the Oilers for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

"At this point in the season, that is inexcusable," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said.

If Nabokov gets the start, it would be his first action since Russia's 3-0 loss Feb. 25 to the Czech Republic in the bronze medal game at Turin.

At the Olympics, Nabokov was 5-2-0 with 1.34 goals-against average and three shutouts, including one against heavily favored Canada.

Nabokov, though, has not played well against the Flames this season, allowing seven goals in two losses.

STANDINGS: Sharks - 64 points, 4th place, 15 PB, Pacific Division. Flames - 75 points, 1st place (tied), Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sharks - Jonathan Cheechoo, 35 goals; Joe Thornton, 63 assists and 86 points; Mark Smith, 77 PIM. Flames - Iginla, 27 goals and 46 points; Andrew Ference, 24 assists; Darren McCarty, 91 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Sharks - Power play: 18.3 percent (65 for 355), 13th (tieed) in NHL. Penalty killing: 81 percent (234 for 289), 21st (tied). Flames - Power play: 18.3 percent (64 for 349), 13th (tied). Penalty killing: 83.1 percent (305 for 367), 12th.

GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Nabokov (14-15-6, 1 SO, 2.95 GAA); Toskala (9-6-2, 0, 3.00). Flames - Kiprusoff (30-15-7, 6, 2.20); Brian Boucher (4-6-0, 0, 3.66).

SEASON SERIES: Flames, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 6; Sharks, 4-3. At San Jose, Calif., Kiprusoff made 28 saves and Robyn Regehr had a career-high three assists as Calgary snapped a three-game losing streak. Marleau had a goal and two assists for the Sharks.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sharks - 11-14-3 on the road; Flames - 21-6-3 at home.

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