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Karlsson back in Sharks lineup

Forward to face Flames after missing two games with undisclosed injury

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

SHARKS (35-23-6) at FLAMES (27-34-4)

TV: 9 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, SNW, NHL.TV

CALGARY -- Forward Melker Karlsson will return to the lineup when the San Jose Sharks visit the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

Karlsson has missed the past two games because of an undisclosed injury.

"It was just a little thing that we needed to sort out," Karlsson said. "I'm ready to go.

"You want to be in it. It's starting to heat up now, with every team chasing. We need to stay on track and keep winning because we want first place, of course. We're hunting teams, too."

The Sharks are third in the Pacific Division, within four points of the Los Angeles Kings for second, and six points behind the Anaheim Ducks for the division lead. Each team has played 64 games.

San Jose is 17-5-4 since Jan. 9.

"It's really intense," Karlsson said. "All three teams are playing really good right now. If you dip, you're going to get left back. You can't dip. You need to win and keep the same level every other team has. We need a win tonight. We can't lose two in a row."

The Sharks, whose three-game winning streak ended with a 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, are hoping to start a new run against the Flames.

"They have a skilled team," Karlsson said. "They're hard to play against. You need to stay close to their skilled players or else they're going to make plays. If we stick to our game and our game plan … I think it's going to be a tight game, but I think we're going to win."

The Flames will be without defenseman Jakub Nakladal, who sustained an eye injury on a high-stick in the second period of a 4-2 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

"[Nakladal] is good," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "You look at his eye and it's pretty scary. We dodged a big bullet on that one. You look at his eye and there's no damage to his eyesight. We were very fortunate on that one. His eye is full of blood. We talked to the medical staff and we decided to, as precautionary measures, give him tonight off."

Nakladal has one goal and two points in 12 games this season.

"I was pretty scared," Nakladal said. "You never know what can happen, especially if you get a hit to your eye. Finally, it was not too bad and now I feel pretty good. I can see now. I'm pretty happy.

"I can see. There is just blood. I look scary, but my eye is pretty okay."

Here are the projected lineups:


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Matt Nieto - Logan Couture - Joel Ward

Nick Spaling - Patrick Marleau - Joonas Donskoi

Dainius Zubrus - Chris Tierney - Melker Karlsson

Justin Braun - Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak

Martin Jones

James Reimer

Injured: Tommy Wingels (shoulder sprain), Matt Tennyson (head)

Scratched: Micheal Haley, Dylan DeMelo


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Michael Frolik

Lance Bouma - Sam Bennett - Joe Colborne

Micheal Ferland - Mikael Backlund - Garnet Hathaway

Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Josh Jooris

Mark Giordano - Deryk Engelland

TJ Brodie - Dougie Hamilton

Jyrki Jokipakka - Tyler Wotherspoon

Joni Ortio

Jonas Hiller

Injured: Karri Ramo (torn ACL), Ladislav Smid (upper body), Jakub Nakladal (eye)

Scratched: None

Suspended: Dennis Wideman

Status report: Jones will start for San Jose. …The Flames recalled defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon from Stockton of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis Monday. Ortio will make his second consecutive start.

Who's hot: Burns was named NHL Third Star of the Week with three goals and six points in three games. He leads NHL defensemen in goals with a career-high 23. Thornton has five assists and six points during a four-game point-streak. …Backlund has two goals and an assist in his past two games. Hamilton has two assists and three points in his past two games.

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