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Surging Sharks aim to douse Flames

by Dan Rosen

SHARKS (11-6-4) at FLAMES (8-8-4)

TV: CSN-California; SNET-West

Last 10: San Jose 4-4-2; Calgary 5-4-1

Season series: It's the second of three meetings this season. The Sharks opened their season in Calgary on Jan. 20 by beating the Flames 4-1.

Big story: The up-and-down Sharks are riding the roller-coaster upwards again. Tuesday's 3-2 shootout win in Vancouver gave San Jose a 3-0-1 mark in its last four games. The Flames are also coming into this game after beating the Canucks, but they've been off for two days after Sunday's 4-2 home win.

Team Scope:

Sharks: Todd McLellan earned his 206th victory behind the Sharks' bench on Tuesday, tying him with Ron Wilson for the franchise record, but not without giving him a few more gray hairs. San Jose jumped out to a 2-0 lead at Vancouver only to see the Canucks pull even and get a power play in overtime. But Antti Niemi got the game to a shootout, and goals by Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski put McLellan in the team record book.

"Nemo played well. He gave us a chance to win. He's been doing that every night," McLellan said. "When your best penalty-killer is your goaltender, you have a real good chance."

The Sharks' big guns didn't produce any offense, but bottom-six forwards Scott Gomez and Adam Burish did.

"Our four guys that score a lot for our team weren't even on the board tonight," McLellan said, "and we still found a way to win. That's a real positive sign for our team."

Flames: This will be Calgary's fifth try at climbing over the .500 mark. They've lost each of the first four -- and they know it's a hurdle they'll have to climb to make a playoff push in the Western Conference, where teams are likely to need 53-55 points to qualify.

"It's like a great big China Wall or something that we can't get over," forward Alex Tanguay told the Flames' website on Tuesday. "Certainly it's been tough for us to get over that hump and we see where we're at in the standings. We're a couple games away. This is the time of year you've got to take that step and move forward and get over that .500 mark and start getting closer to the middle of the pack."

Who's hot: Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi is 3-0-1 in his last four starts and has allowed just six goals in that span. … Flames captain Jarome Iginla is heating up after a slow start. He scored a goal on Sunday and has five in his past four games.

Injury report: San Jose is without forward Martin Havlat (lower body), who was injured on Saturday, as well as defenseman Brent Burns (lower body) and forward Tommy Wingels (upper body). … Calgary hopes to have starting goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff (knee), but he's been skating and could be back soon. The Flames are also without forwards Paul Byron (hand) and Mikael Backlund (knee).

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