Flames hope to extend surge vs. Sharks

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames will try to add another victory to their recent surge when they host the San Jose Sharks in Wednesday's Pacific Division battle at the Saddledome.

The Flames have won seven of their last nine games and are off to a strong 3-1-0 start on a six-game homestand that is slated to end Friday against Pittsburgh. The positive stretch has moved Calgary into third place in the Pacific where the surprising club sits just two points behind the Sharks.

Calgary won its second straight game on Monday by notching a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Raphael Diaz scored the game-winning goal in the third period for the Flames, while Jonas Hiller only needed to make 17 saves for the win.

David Jones, Mason Raymond, Sean Monahan and Brandon Bollig also scored for the Flames, but head coach Bob Hartley didn't want his club to get overconfident about its recent run of success.

"We have nothing to celebrate," said Hartley. "We can be proud of the way we play. We can be happy with where we're at. But there's still way too much hockey to be played to get complacent."

The Flames hope to heed Hartley's advice tonight when they attempt to keep the pressure on the second-place Sharks. Calgary has taken two of three from San Jose this season and has won four of five overall in the series.

However, the Sharks did snap a two-game slide at the Saddledome when they recorded a 3-2 regulation win on Dec. 6. Calgary later rebounded from that setback by posting a 4-3 overtime win in San Jose on Jan. 17 with Monahan supplying the game-winner in the extra session.

San Jose had won three straight before losing Monday's shootout decision against the visiting Edmonton Oilers. The Sharks did rally for a point in the loss, coming back from a 3-1 deficit after the second period to briefly take the lead before Edmonton's Justin Schultz tied the game at 4-4 with 2:37 remaining in regulation.

The game eventually ended with an epic shootout battle, as Rob Klinkhammer scored in the 13th round to give the Oilers a 5-4 win.

After Viktor Fasth turned aside Matt Irwin's attempt at the start of the 13th round, Klinkhammer flew in and buried a shot past Antti Niemi for the victory.

Joe Pavelski had two goals and an assist, while Scott Hannan and Matt Tennyson also scored for the Sharks. Joe Thornton added three assists and Niemi had 36 saves.

"They've got some skill on their team but we have to do better than that," said Pavelski. "We battled hard in the third and came back, but found ourselves on the short end."

The setback dropped San Jose to 4-1-2 on its seven-game homestand and the club hopes to rebound during a two-game tour of Western Canada. The swing ends tomorrow night against Vancouver.

Hiller will start tonight and is 8-10-2 with a 2.32 goals against average in his career against San Jose.

With San Jose playing on back-to-back nights, the Sharks could use both Niemi and Alex Stalock over the next two games. Niemi boasts a 13-3-2 record and 2.20 GAA in his career versus the Flames, while Stalock is 1-1-1 with a lifetime 1.94 GAA in this matchup.