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Sharks open homestand against Flames

by Brian Hunter

FLAMES (16-26-7) at SHARKS (31-12-6)


Last 10: Calgary 2-7-1; San Jose 6-4-0

Season series: This is the third of five games between the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks. The Sharks are 2-for-2 so far, winning the most recent game in Calgary 3-2 in overtime on a goal by defenseman Brad Stuart. Forward Joe Pavelski has two goals and five points against the Flames this season.

Big story: If the Flames want to break through and beat the Sharks, finding a way to contain Pavelski should be at the top of their list. His natural hat trick Saturday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Lightning not only gave San Jose a 5-4 win and a sweep of its road trip, it put Pavelski among the NHL's top scorers with 25 goals. He's just six off his career high set two seasons ago.

Team Scope:

Flames: A full complement of six defensemen would also help Calgary's cause, something the Flames didn't have Saturday in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Chris Butler and Ladislav Smid were among four Flames and eight total players ejected two seconds in after a series of fights off the opening faceoff.

That left Dennis Wideman (career-high 38:05 of ice time), TJ Brodie (35:42) and Mark Giordano (33:32) to do yeoman's work the remainder of the way. Even Shane O'Brien was pressed into a larger role, with his 21:26 representing more than 10 minutes above his average ice time this season.

Calgary coach Bob Hartley was fined $25,000 Monday for his responsibility for the incident. The fine was issued in accordance with By-Law 17.3 (a) for conduct prejudicial to or against the welfare of the League.

"As a professional hockey player you want to be out there and you want to get some minutes," O'Brien said afterward. "Obviously tonight I got a lot of it. It would have been nice to win the game, but we played hard. Unfortunately we couldn't get it done in the shootout."

Sharks: This is the start of a four-game homestand for San Jose, which is 16-2-3 in its own building and plays 20 of its remaining 33 games there. The Sharks started their three-game trip against Eastern Conference opponents by allowing just one goal in the first two wins, but needed to break out the offense to get past Tampa.

Martin St. Louis nearly beat the Sharks by himself, scoring four goals, but with San Jose trailing 4-2 Pavelski took over. His first two goals came 21 seconds apart to even the score and he completed his first career hat trick in a span of 6:12 of the second period for a 5-4 win.

"Pavelski was in the right place at the right time," said center Joe Thornton, who picked up his League-leading 46th assist on the final goal. "All three were just the right place at the right time."

Who's hot: Giordano has goals in consecutive games for the Flames and a three-game point streak overall. … Pavelski has 16 goals in his past 19 games for the Sharks. Forward Matt Nieto has goals in consecutive games. Forward Patrick Marleau has a goal and three assists in the past two games.

Injury report: Calgary forward Mike Cammalleri (concussion) was placed on injured reserve Monday after forward David Jones (eye) and defenseman Kris Russell (knee) were activated. Forward Curtis Glencross (ankle) remains on IR. … San Jose defenseman Scott Hannan (upper body) and forwards Logan Couture (hand), Marty Havlat (lower body), Tomas Hertl (knee), Adam Burish (lower body) and Raffi Torres (knee) are on injured reserve.

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