Flames, feeling confident, head home to face Sharks

Feb 15, 2024, 7:30 AM | Updated: 8:44 am

Jaycob Megna #24 of the San Jose Sharks and Andrew Mangiapane #88 of the Calgary Flames skates for ...

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 18: Jaycob Megna #24 of the San Jose Sharks and Andrew Mangiapane #88 of the Calgary Flames skates for control of the puck during the third period at SAP Center on December 18, 2022 in San Jose, California. The Flames won the game 5-2. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Calgary Flames, coming off an impressive if not perfect road trip, have something to build upon when they begin a four-game homestand on Thursday against the San Jose Sharks.

The Flames took a 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday to end their four-game trek, a result that snapped their four-game winning streak.

Calgary beat the Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders during the trip, with the recent surge leaving the Flames just three points out of a postseason position.

“We played some really good teams and we came out with a lot of points on that road trip,” Flames forward Jonathan Huberdeau said. “Obviously, the Rangers was a tough one for us, but it was at the end of it (the trip). Now we’re coming back home, a lot of home games. I think we can be better at home, so that’s the kind of stretch that we need to get a lot of points and get into a playoff spot.”

The Flames know there is a high likelihood some veteran players will be dealt away before the March 8 trade deadline, but their play has not fallen off, even after sending top-line center Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks during the All-Star break.

“That’s one thing we’re proud of them for and will continue to be,” Calgary coach Ryan Huska said. “It’s not going to change them. They know they have a job to do, they have to come to the rink every day and play their best, and if you’re worried about who’s in your lineup or who is out of your lineup, then you’re looking for excuses and that’s not our job.”

The Sharks arrive in Calgary on the heels of a 1-0 road loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday, their first game since the All-Star break.

San Jose, which sits 31st overall in the NHL and last in the Pacific Division, has dropped its past two games. It was the eighth time this season the Sharks were blanked.

“You could see there were a lot of almost opportunities for us where we could have generated a lot more offense than we did,” Sharks coach David Quinn said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “It looked like we tried to do the right thing, but we just weren’t. Our timing was off for sure.”

The Sharks are destined to have strong odds to win the draft lottery, but they have posted a 4-2-1 record in their past seven outings.

San Jose struggled to mount much of an offensive push against the Jets, in big part due to being without top two centers Tomas Hertl (knee surgery) and Logan Couture (groin).

“We passed up on some shots coming into the O-zone,” Sharks forward Luke Kunin said. “We weren’t moving our feet as much as we could have to generate some more offensive-zone chances. But first game back, maybe that’s the reason why. … We’ve got to find ways to get more looks, more second chances on pucks to the net.”

San Jose might be even more thin at center after Nico Sturm was injured midway through the third period on Wednesday. Sturm was on the receiving end of a hit by Logan Stanley and landed on his head.

Sharks defenseman Henry Thrun (shoulder) and forward Givani Smith (lower body) may be able to play against the Flames. Thrun hasn’t played for San Jose since Jan. 23, and Smith last appeared on Dec. 21.

“They weren’t fully available tonight, so we’ll see how they feel tomorrow,” Quinn said Wednesday.

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–Field Level Media


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