Staring at a two-week long road trip, the San Jose Sharks would love to pick up four big points before leaving the friendly confines of HP Pavilion.
They'll look to accomplish step one of that plan this evening and extend a five-game series winning streak over the visiting Calgary Flames.
The Sharks will welcome the Flames and Blackhawks to town over the next three nights before embarking on a nine-game road trip that runs from Feb. 12 through Feb. 26. San Jose has won five of its past six at home and is 17-8-2 as the host compared to a 12-7-4 mark on the road.
The Sharks return home after dropping a 5-3 decision to the hosting Coyotes on Saturday. Patrick Marleau scored to make it a one-goal game with 32 seconds left in regulation, but Phoenix potted an empty-net goal in the final second to restore the two-goal edge.
Marleau also had an assist and both Jamie McGinn and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks, who had a three-game win streak snapped. Antti Niemi finished with 19 saves and Ryan Clowe logged three assists, while Couture has four goals and nine points over a six-game point streak.
"We weren't very good," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. "We weren't very good on pursuit, we weren't very good on coverage and we didn't create very much, so give them credit. They were well prepared and they established ice better than we did."
San Jose now holds just a two-point edge over Los Angeles for first place in the Pacific Division and began its recently-ended win streak with a 1-0 win over the hosting Flames on Jan. 24. Niemi posted a 25-save shutout in that one.
The Sharks also recorded a home win over the Flames seven days earlier and have won six of seven and eight of the past 11 encounters overall. That includes four straight wins as the host.
The Flames hope to pick up their first win at San Jose since Dec. 5, 2009 this evening and inch closer to the eighth-place Wild in the Western standings. Calgary trails Minnesota by three points and is coming off Monday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Ducks.
Aiming for his 300th career win, Miikka Kiprusoff made 31 saves through overtime, but allowed three scores in the eight-round shootout. The final one came against fellow Finn and former teammate Niklas Hagman.
Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla both scored in regulation for the Flames, with Iginla reaching the 20-goal mark for a 13th straight season when he tied the game on a power-play marker at the 6:15 mark of the third.
Iginla, though, did fail to convert on a 2-on-1 rush with Tanguay in overtime, firing high over the crossbar. The Flames were not credited with a shot in the overtime session and have lost three of their last four. They also fell to 2-0-2 in their past four on the road.
"The game was more of a roller coaster ride. We battled back to get a point," Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. "In the shootout, you have good goalies making great saves and good players making great moves. They were fortunate to get one more past our goalie."
Kiprusoff is likely to get the call again tonight as he goes for his milestone win. He is 13-12-3 with a 2.79 goals-against average in 28 career starts versus the Sharks.