Flames hope to stretch win streak against Sharks

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames aim to extend their longest winning streak of the season on Saturday night as they cap a three-game homestand against the San Jose Sharks.

The Flames picked up their fourth win in a row on Thursday, topping the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in overtime. Sean Monahan had the winner 1:47 into the extra frame.

Monahan won it when he collected his own rebound and fired it past Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov, who returned after missing six games with a groin injury, thought the puck was covered after denying Monahan's initial bid from the slot.

Calgary defenseman Dennis Wideman scored twice, his second tying the game with 1:17 remaining in regulation, and Kris Russell had three assists in his club's eighth victory in 10 games.

Karri Ramo won his sixth consecutive start with a 26-save effort, one that gave head coach Bob Hartley his 400th career win. Hartley has 71 of those victories with the Flames.

"Tonight we saw another great moment in our season. No quitting," Hartley said.

The Flames go for a fifth straight victory and expect to have center Matt Stajan back in the lineup for the first time since he suffered a knee injury on Oct. 28. That held Stajan out for 15 straight games.

"I just want to get back to game action, get up to speed, keep it simple," Stajan said on Calgary's website. "I haven't played in a while. You want to get your feet wet. There's a lot of hockey to be played left this season. I want to pick up right where the team is and make sure I'm just joining in to where we are because everybody's been playing so great."

The Sharks also have been playing well as of late. They bring in a season high-tying three-game winning streak into this matchup, the first for the club since it began the season 3-0.

San Jose had an excellent offensive night on Thursday, with Tommy Wingels, Joe Pavelski and Tyler Kennedy all scoring twice in a 7-4 victory over Boston.

The Sharks overcame an early hole and netted the game's final four goals, including three in the third period. Tomas Hertl also scored and Antti Niemi made 20 saves.

"With our group, we're going to have to keep our foot on the gas pedal," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "Tonight was a good moral boost."

San Jose was relieved to see Logan Couture log 19 minutes of game action only two days after taking a hit to the head versus Philadelphia. He passed concussion tests and was cleared before the game.

The Sharks will visit Edmonton on Sunday to open a home-and-home set with the Oilers, but first try to beat the Flames for the first time in four meetings.

Calgary's current series winning streak includes a 2-0 win in San Jose on Nov. 26 in the first of five meetings this season. Ramo made 32 saves for the shutout.

Niemi stopped all but one of the 18 shots fired his way. Calgary's Jiri Hudler snuck one past the San Jose netminder before picking up his second goal with an empty-net tally.